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Strategy, Forces and Resources 
For a New Century 

A Report of 

The Project for the New American Century 
September 2000 

i ft m 

About the Project for the 
New American Century 

Established in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a non¬ 
profit, educational organization whose goal is to promote American global leadership. 
The Project is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project. William Kristol is chairman 
of the Project, and Robert Kagan, Devon Gaffney Cross, Bruce P. Jackson and John R. 
Bolton serve as directors. Gary Schmitt is executive director of the Project. 

“As the 20 th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the 
world’s most preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in 
the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does 
the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of 
past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a 
new century favorable to American principles and interests? 

“[What we require is] a military that is strong and ready to meet 
both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and 
purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national 
leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities. 

“Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its 
power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global 
leadership of the costs that are associated with its exercise. America 
has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, 
and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite 
challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20 th 
century should have taught us that it is important to shape 
circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they 
become dire. The history of the past century should have taught us 
to embrace the cause of American leadership.” 

- From the Project’s founding Statement of Principles 

Project for the New American Century 

1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Suite 510, Washington, D.C. 20036 
Telephone: (202) 293-4983 / Fax: (202) 293-4572 




Strategy, Forces and Resources 
For a New Century 

Donald Kagan Gary Schmitt 

Project Co-Chairmen 

Thomas Donnelly 

Principal Author 

Rebuilding America’s Defenses 

Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 



Key Findings.iv 

I. Why Another Defense Review?.1 

II. Four Essential Missions.5 

III. Repositioning Today’s Force.14 

IV. Rebuilding Today’s Armed Forces.22 

Y. Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force.50 

VI. Defense Spending.69 

Project Participants 

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


The Project for the New American 
Century was established in the spring of 
1997. From its inception, the Project has 
been concerned with the decline in the 
strength of America’s defenses, and in the 
problems this would create for the exercise 
of American leadership around the globe 
and, ultimately, for the preservation of 

Our concerns were reinforced by the 
two congressionally-mandated defense 
studies that appeared soon thereafter: the 
Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review 
(May 1997) and the report of the National 
Defense Panel (December 1997). Both 
studies assumed that U.S. defense budgets 
would remain flat or continue to shrink. As 
a result, the defense plans and 
recommendations outlined in the two reports 
were fashioned with such budget constraints 
in mind. Broadly speaking, the QDR 
stressed current military requirements at the 
expense of future defense needs, while the 
NDP’s report emphasized future needs by 
underestimating today’s defense 

Although the QDR and the report of the 
NDP proposed different policies, they 
shared one underlying feature: the gap 
between resources and strategy should be 
resolved not by increasing resources but by 
shortchanging strategy. America’s armed 
forces, it seemed, could either prepare for 
the future by retreating from its role as the 
essential defender of today’s global security 
order, or it could take care of current 
business but be unprepared for tomorrow’s 
threats and tomorrow’s battlefields. 

Either alternative seemed to us 
shortsighted. The United States is the 
world’s only superpower, combining 
preeminent military power, global 
technological leadership, and the world’s 
largest economy. Moreover, America stands 
at the head of a system of alliances which 
includes the world’s other leading 
democratic powers. At present the United 
States faces no global rival. America’s 
grand strategy should aim to preserve and 
extend this advantageous position as far into 
the future as possible. There are, however, 
potentially powerful states dissatisfied with 
the current situation and eager to change it, 
if they can, in directions that endanger the 
relatively peaceful, prosperous and free 
condition the world enjoys today. Up to 
now, they have been deterred from doing so 
by the capability and global presence of 
American military power. But, as that 
power declines, relatively and absolutely, 
the happy conditions that follow from it will 
be inevitably undermined. 

Preserving the desirable strategic 
situation in which the United States now 
finds itself requires a globally preeminent 
military capability both today and in the 
future. But years of cuts in defense 
spending have eroded the American 
military’s combat readiness, and put in 
jeopardy the Pentagon’s plans for 
maintaining military superiority in the years 
ahead. Increasingly, the U.S. military has 
found itself undermanned, inadequately 
equipped and trained, straining to handle 
contingency operations, and ill-prepared to 
adapt itself to the revolution in military 
affairs. Without a well-conceived defense 
policy and an appropriate increase in 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

defense spending, the United States has been 
letting its ability to take full advantage of the 
remarkable strategic opportunity at hand slip 

With this in mind, we began a project in 
the spring of 1998 to examine the country’s 
defense plans and resource requirements. 

We started from the premise that U.S. 
military capabilities should be sufficient to 
support an American grand strategy 
committed to building upon this 
unprecedented opportunity. We did not 
accept pre-ordained constraints that 
followed from assumptions about what the 
country might or might not be willing to 
expend on its defenses. 

In broad terms, we saw the project as 
building upon the defense strategy outlined 
by the Cheney Defense Department in the 
waning days of the Bush Administration. 

The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted 
in the early months 
of 1992 provided a 
blueprint for 
maintaining U.S. 
precluding the rise 
of a great power 
rival, and shaping 
the international 
security order in 
line with American 
principles and 
interests. Leaked 
before it had been 
formally approved, 
the document was 
criticized as an 
effort by “cold 
warriors” to keep defense spending high and 
cuts in forces small despite the collapse of 
the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, it was 
subsequently buried by the new 

Although the experience of the past 
eight years has modified our understanding 
of particular military requirements for 
carrying out such a strategy, the basic tenets 

of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound. 
And what Secretary Cheney said at the time 
in response to the DPG’s critics remains true 
today: “We can either sustain the [armed] 
forces we require and remain in a position to 
help shape things for the better, or we can 
throw that advantage away. [But] that 
would only hasten the day when we face 
greater threats, at higher costs and further 
risk to American lives.” 

The project proceeded by holding a 
series of seminars. We asked outstanding 
defense specialists to write papers to explore 
a variety of topics: the future missions and 
requirements of the individual military 
services, the role of the reserves, nuclear 
strategic doctrine and missile defenses, the 
defense budget and prospects for military 
modernization, the state (training and 
readiness) of today’s forces, the revolution 
in military affairs, and defense-planning for 
theater wars, small wars and constabulary 
operations. The papers were circulated to a 
group of participants, chosen for their 
experience and judgment in defense affairs. 
(The list of participants may be found at the 
end of this report.) Each paper then became 
the basis for discussion and debate. Our 
goal was to use the papers to assist 
deliberation, to generate and test ideas, and 
to assist us in developing our final report. 
While each paper took as its stalling point a 
shared strategic point of view, we made no 
attempt to dictate the views or direction of 
the individual papers. We wanted as full 
and as diverse a discussion as possible. 

Our report borrows heavily from those 
deliberations. But we did not ask seminar 
participants to “sign-off’ on the final report. 
We wanted frank discussions and we sought 
to avoid the pitfalls of trying to produce a 
consensual but bland product. We wanted to 
try to define and describe a defense strategy 
that is honest, thoughtful, bold, internally 
consistent and clear. And we wanted to 
spark a serious and informed discussion, the 
essential first step for reaching sound 
conclusions and for gaining public support. 

At present the 
United States 
faces no 
global rival. 
grand strategy 
should aim to 
preserve and 
extend this 
position as far 
into the future 
as possible. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

New circumstances make us think that 
the report might have a more receptive 
audience now than in recent years. For the 
first time since the late 1960s the federal 
government is running a surplus. For most 
of the 1990s, Congress and the White House 
gave balancing the federal budget a higher 
priority than funding national security. In 
fact, to a significant degree, the budget was 
balanced by a combination of increased tax 
revenues and cuts in defense spending. The 
surplus expected in federal revenues over 
the next decade, however, removes any need 
to hold defense spending to some 
preconceived low level. 

Moreover, the American public and its 
elected representatives have become 
increasingly aware of the declining state of 
the U.S. military. News stories, Pentagon 
reports, congressional testimony and 
anecdotal accounts from members of the 
armed services paint a disturbing picture of 
an American military that is troubled by 
poor enlistment and retention rates, shoddy 
housing, a shortage of spare parts and 
weapons, and diminishing combat readiness. 

Finally, this report comes after a 
decade’s worth of experience in dealing with 
the post-Cold War world. Previous efforts 
to fashion a defense strategy that would 
make sense for today’s security environment 

were forced to work from many untested 
assumptions about the nature of a world 
without a superpower rival. We have a 
much better idea today of what our 
responsibilities are, what the threats to us 
might be in this new security environment, 
and what it will take to secure the relative 
peace and stability. We believe our report 
reflects and benefits from that decade’s 
worth of experience. 

Our report is published in a presidential 
election year. The new administration will 
need to produce a second Quadrennial 
Defense Review shortly after it takes office. 
We hope that the Project’s report will be 
useful as a road map for the nation’s 
immediate and future defense plans. We 
believe we have set forth a defense program 
that is justified by the evidence, rests on an 
honest examination of the problems and 
possibilities, and does not flinch from facing 
the true cost of security. We hope it will 
inspire careful consideration and serious 
discussion. The post-Cold War world will 
not remain a relatively peaceful place if we 
continue to neglect foreign and defense 
matters. But serious attention, careful 
thought, and the willingness to devote 
adequate resources to maintaining 
America’s military strength can make the 
world safer and American strategic interests 
more secure now and in the future. 

Donald Kagan Gary Schmitt 
Project Co-Chairmen 

Thomas Donnelly 
Principal Author 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Key Findings 

This report proceeds from the belief that 
America should seek to preserve and extend 
its position of global leadership by 
maintaining the preeminence of U.S. 
military forces. Today, the United States 
has an unprecedented strategic opportunity. 
It faces no immediate great-power 
challenge; it is blessed with wealthy, 
powerful and democratic allies in every part 
of the world; it is in the midst of the longest 
economic expansion in its history; and its 
political and economic principles are almost 
universally embraced. At no time in history 
has the international security order been as 
conducive to American interests and ideals. 

The challenge for the coming century is to 
preserve and enhance this “American 

Yet unless the United States maintains 
sufficient military strength, this opportunity 
will be lost. And in fact, over the past 
decade, the failure to establish a security 
strategy responsive to new realities and to 
provide adequate resources for the full range 
of missions needed to exercise U.S. global 
leadership has placed the American peace at 
growing risk. This report attempts to define 
those requirements. In particular, we need 

Establish FOUR CORE missions for U.S. military forces: 

• defend the American homeland; 

• fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars; 

• perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in 
critical regions; 

• transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs;” 

To carry out these core missions, we need to provide sufficient force and budgetary 
allocations. In particular, the United States must: 

Maintain nuclear strategic superiority, basing the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon a 
global, nuclear net assessment that weighs the full range of current and emerging threats, 
not merely the U.S.-Russia balance. 

Restore the personn el strength of today’s force to roughly the levels anticipated in 
the “Base Force” outlined by the Bush Administration, an increase in active-duty strength 
from 1.4 million to 1.6 million. 

Reposition U.S. forces to respond to 21 st century strategic realities by shifting 
permanently-based forces to Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, and by changing naval 
deployment patterns to reflect growing U.S. strategic concerns in East Asia. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Modernize current U.S. forces selectively, proceeding with the F-22 program while 
increasing purchases of lift, electronic support and other aircraft; expanding submarine 
and surface combatant fleets; purchasing Comanche helicopters and medium-weight 
ground vehicles for the Army, and the V-22 Osprey “tilt-rotor” aircraft for the Marine 

Cancel “roadblock” programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter, CVX aircraft carrier, 
and Crusader howitzer system that would absorb exorbitant amounts of Pentagon funding 
while providing limited improvements to current capabilities. Savings from these canceled 
programs should be used to spur the process of military transformation. 

Develop and deploy global MISSILE DEFENSES to defend the American homeland and 
American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world. 

Control the new “international commons” of space and “cyberspace,” and pave 
the way for the creation of a new military service - U.S. Space Forces - with the mission of 
space control. 

Exploit the “revolution in military affairs” to insure the long-term superiority of 
U.S. conventional forces. Establish a two-stage transformation process which 

• maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced 
technologies, and, 

• produces more profound improvements in military capabilities, encourages competition 
between single services and joint-service experimentation efforts. 

Increase defense spending gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross 
domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually. 

Fulfilling these requirements is essential 
if America is to retain its militarily dominant 
status for the coming decades. Conversely, 
the failure to meet any of these needs must 
result in some form of strategic retreat. At 
current levels of defense spending, the only 
option is to try ineffectually to “manage” 
increasingly large risks: paying for today’s 
needs by shortchanging tomorrow’s; 
withdrawing from constabulary missions to 
retain strength for large-scale wars; 
“choosing” between presence in Europe or 
presence in Asia; and so on. These are bad 

choices. They are also false economies. 

The “savings” from withdrawing from the 
Balkans, for example, will not free up 
anywhere near the magnitude of funds 
needed for military modernization or 
transformation. But these are false 
economies in other, more profound ways as 
well. The true cost of not meeting our 
defense requirements will be a lessened 
capacity for American global leadership and, 
ultimately, the loss of a global security order 
that is uniquely friendly to American 
principles and prosperity. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Why Another Defense Review? 

Since the end of the Cold War, the 
United States has struggled to formulate a 
coherent national security or military 
strategy, one that accounts for the constants 
of American power and principles yet 
accommodates 21 st century realities. Absent 
a strategic framework, U.S. defense plan¬ 
ning has been an empty and increasingly 
self-referential exercise, often dominated by 
bureaucratic and budgetary rather than 
strategic interests. Indeed, the proliferation 
of defense reviews over the past decade 
testifies to the failure to chart a consistent 
course: to date, there have been half a dozen 
formal defense reviews, and the Pentagon is 
now gearing up for a second Quadrennial 
Defense Review in 2001. Unless this “QDR 
II” matches U.S. military forces and 
resources to a viable American strategy, it, 
too, will fail. 

These failures are not without cost: 
already, they place at risk an historic 
opportunity. After the victories of the past 
century - two world wars, the Cold War and 
most recently the Gulf War - the United 
States finds itself as the uniquely powerful 
leader of a coalition of free and prosperous 
states that faces no immediate great-power 

The American peace has proven itself 
peaceful, stable and durable. It has, over the 
past decade, provided the geopolitical 
framework for widespread economic growth 
and the spread of American principles of 
liberty and democracy. Yet no moment in 
international politics can be frozen in time; 
even a global Pax Americana will not 
preserve itself. 

Paradoxically, as American power and 
influence are at their apogee, American 
military forces limp toward exhaustion, 
unable to meet the demands of their many 
and varied missions, including preparing for 
tomorrow’s battlefield. Today’s force, 
reduced by a third or more over the past 
decade, suffers from degraded combat 
readiness; from difficulties in recruiting and 
retaining sufficient numbers of soldiers, 
sailors, airmen and Marines; from the effects 
of an extended “procurement holiday” that 
has resulted in the premature aging of most 
weapons systems; from an increasingly 
obsolescent and inadequate military 
infrastructure; from a shrinking industrial 
base poorly structured to be the “arsenal of 
democracy” for the 21 st century; from a lack 
of innovation that threatens the techno¬ 
logical and operational advantages enjoyed 
by U.S. forces for a generation and upon 
which American strategy depends. Finally, 
and most dangerously, the social fabric of 
the military is frayed and worn. U.S. armed 
forces suffer from a degraded quality of life 
divorced from middle-class expectations, 
upon which an all-volunteer force depends. 
Enlisted men and women and junior officers 
increasingly lack confidence in their senior 
leaders, whom they believe will not tell 
unpleasant truths to their civilian leaders. In 
sum, as the American peace reaches across 
the globe, the force that preserves that peace 
is increasingly overwhelmed by its tasks. 

This is no paradox; it is the inevitable 
consequence of the failure to match military 
means to geopolitical ends. Underlying the 
failed strategic and defense reviews of the 
past decade is the idea that the collapse of 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the Soviet Union had created a “strategic 
pause.” In other words, until another great- 
power challenger emerges, the United States 
can enjoy a respite from the demands of 
international leadership. Like a boxer 
between championship bouts, America can 
afford to relax and live the good life, certain 
that there would be enough time to shape up 
for the next big challenge. Thus the United 
States could afford to reduce its military 
forces, close bases overseas, halt major 
weapons programs and reap the financial 
benefits of the “peace dividend.” But as we 
have seen over the past decade, there has 
been no shortage of powers around the 
world who have taken the collapse of the 
Soviet empire as an opportunity to expand 
their own influence and challenge the 
American-led security order. 

Beyond the faulty notion of a strategic 
pause, recent defense reviews have suffered 
from an inverted understanding of the mili¬ 
tary dimension of the Cold War struggle 
between the United States and the Soviet 
Union. American containment strategy did 
not proceed from the assumption that the 
Cold War would be a purely military strug¬ 
gle, in which the U.S. Army matched the 
Red Army tank for tank; rather, the United 
States would seek to deter the Soviets 
militarily while defeating them economi¬ 
cally and ideologically over time. And, 
even within the realm of military affairs, the 
practice of deterrence allowed for what in 
military terms is called “an economy of 
force.” The principle job of NATO forces, 
for example, was to deter an invasion of 
Western Europe, not to invade and occupy 
the Russian heartland. Moreover, the bi¬ 
polar nuclear balance of terror made both 
the United States and the Soviet Union 
generally cautious. Behind the smallest 
proxy war in the most remote region lurked 
the possibility of Armageddon. Thus, 
despite numerous miscalculations through 
the five decades of Cold War, the United 
States reaped an extraordinary measure of 
global security and stability simply by 
building a credible and, in relative terms, 
inexpensive nuclear arsenal. 

Cold War 

21 st Century 










Preserve Pax 




Deter Soviet 

Secure and 
expand zones 
of democratic 
peace; deter 
rise of new 
defend key 

of war 




global war 
across many 

theater wars 
spread across 

Focus of 


East Asia 

Over the decade of the post-Cold-War 
period, however, almost everything has 
changed. The Cold War world was a bipolar 
world; the 21 st century world is - for the 
moment, at least - decidedly unipolar, with 
America as the world’s “sole superpower.” 
America’s strategic goal used to be 
containment of the Soviet Union; today the 
task is to preserve an international security 
environment conducive to American 
interests and ideals. The military’s job 
during the Cold War was to deter Soviet 
expansionism. Today its task is to secure 
and expand the “zones of democratic 
peace;” to deter the rise of a new great- 
power competitor; defend key regions of 
Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; and 
to preserve American preeminence through 
the coming transformation of war made 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

possible by new technologies. From 1945 to 
1990, U.S. forces prepared themselves for a 
single, global war that might be fought 
across many theaters; in the new century, the 
prospect is for a variety of theater wars 
around the world, against separate and 
distinct adversaries pursuing separate and 
distinct goals. During the Cold War, the 
main venue of superpower rivalry, the 
strategic “center of gravity,” was in Europe, 
where large U.S. and NATO conventional 
forces prepared to repulse a Soviet attack 
and over which nuclear war might begin; 
and with Europe now generally at peace, the 
new strategic center of concern appears to 
be shifting to East Asia. The missions for 

America’s armed 
forces have not 
diminished so 
much as shifted. 
The threats may 
not be as great, 
but there are 
more of them. 
During the Cold 
War, America 
acquired its 
“wholesale” by 
global deterrence 
of the Soviet 
Union. Today, 
that same 

security can only be acquired at the “retail” 
level, by deterring or, when needed, by 
compelling regional foes to act in ways that 
protect American interests and principles. 

Today, America 
spends less than 
3 percent of its 
gross domestic 
product on 
national defense, 
less than at any 
time since before 
the United States 
established itself 
as the world’s 
leading power. 

This gap between a diverse and 
expansive set of new strategic realities and 
diminishing defense forces and resources 
does much to explain why the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff routinely declare that they see “high 
risk” in executing the missions assigned to 
U.S. armed forces under the government’s 
declared national military strategy. Indeed, 
a JCS assessment conducted at the height of 
the Kosovo air war found the risk level 
“unacceptable.” Such risks are the result of 
the combination of the new missions 
described above and the dramatically 

reduced military force that has emerged 
from the defense “drawdown” of the past 
decade. Today, America spends less than 3 
percent of its gross domestic product on 
national defense, less than at any time since 
before World War 11 - in other words, since 
before the United States established itself as 
the world’s leading power - and a cut from 
4.7 percent of GDP in 1992, the first real 
post-Cold-War defense budget. Most of this 
reduction has come under the Clinton 
Administration; despite initial promises to 
approximate the level of defense spending 
called for in the final Bush Administration 
program, President Clinton cut more than 
$160 billion from the Bush program from 
1992 to 1996 alone. Over the first seven 
years of the Clinton Administration, 
approximately $426 billion in defense 
investments have been deferred, creating a 
weapons procurement “bow wave” of 
immense proportions. 

The most immediate effect of reduced 
defense spending has been a precipitate 
decline in combat readiness. Across all 
services, units are reporting degraded 
readiness, spare parts and personnel 
shortages, postponed and simplified training 
regimens, and many other problems. In 
congressional testimony, service chiefs of 
staff now routinely report that their forces 
are inadequate to the demands of the “two- 
war” national military strategy. Press 
attention focused on these readiness 
problems when it was revealed that two 
Army divisions were given a “C-4” rating, 
meaning they were not ready for war. Yet it 
was perhaps more telling that none of the 
Army’s ten divisions achieved the highest 
“C-l” rating, reflecting the widespread 
effects of slipping readiness standards. By 
contrast, every division that deployed to 
Operation Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 
received a “C-l” rating. This is just a 
snapshot that captures the state of U.S. 
armed forces today. 

These readiness problems are 
exacerbated by the fact that U.S. forces are 
poorly positioned to respond to today’s 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

crises. In Europe, for example, the 
overwhelming majority of Army and Air 
Force units remain at their Cold War bases 
in Germany or England, while the security 
problems on the continent have moved to 
Southeast Europe. Temporary rotations of 
forces to the Balkans and elsewhere in 
Southeast Europe increase the overall 
burdens of these operations many times. 
Likewise, the Clinton Administration has 
continued the fiction that the operations of 
American forces in the Persian Gulf are 
merely temporary duties. Nearly a decade 
after the Gulf War, U.S. air, ground and 
naval forces continue to protect enduring 
American interests in the region. In addition 
to rotational naval forces, the Army 
maintains what amounts to an armored 
brigade in Kuwait for nine months of every 
year; the Air Force has two composite air 
wings in constant “no-fly zone” operations 
over northern and southern Iraq. And 
despite increasing worries about the rise of 
China and instability in Southeast Asia, U.S. 
forces are found almost exclusively in 
Northeast Asian bases. 

Yet for all its problems in carrying out 
today’s missions, the Pentagon has done 
almost nothing to prepare for a future that 
promises to be very different and potentially 
much more dangerous. It is now commonly 
understood that information and other new 
technologies - as well as widespread 
technological and weapons proliferation - 
are creating a dynamic that may threaten 
America’s ability to exercise its dominant 
military power. Potential rivals such as 
China are anxious to exploit these trans¬ 
formational technologies broadly, while 
adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea 
are rushing to develop ballistic missiles and 
nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American 
intervention in regions they seek to 
dominate. Yet the Defense Department and 
the services have done little more than affix 
a “transformation” label to programs 
developed during the Cold War, while 
diverting effort and attention to a process of 
joint experimentation which restricts rather 
than encourages innovation. Rather than 

admit that rapid technological changes 
makes it uncertain which new weapons 
systems to develop, the armed services cling 
ever more tightly to traditional program and 
concepts. As Andrew Krepinevich, a 
member of the National Defense Panel, put 
it in a recent study of Pentagon experi¬ 
mentation, “Unfortunately, the Defense 
Department’s rhetoric asserting the need for 
military transformation and its support for 
joint experimentation has yet to be matched 
by any great sense of urgency or any 
substantial resource support.... At present 
the Department’s effort is poorly focused 
and woefully underfunded.” 

In sum, the 1990s have been a “decade 
of defense neglect.” This leaves the next 
president of the United States with an 
enormous challenge: he must increase 
military spending to preserve American 
geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back 
from the security commitments that are the 
measure of America’s position as the 
world’s sole superpower and the final 
guarantee of security, democratic freedoms 
and individual political rights. This choice 
will be among the first to confront the 
president: new legislation requires the 
incoming administration to fashion a 
national security strategy within six months 
of assuming office, as opposed to waiting a 
full year, and to complete another 
quadrennial defense review three months 
after that. In a larger sense, the new 
president will choose whether today’s 
“unipolar moment,” to use columnist 
Charles Krauthammer’s phrase for 
America’s current geopolitical preeminence, 
will be extended along with the peace and 
prosperity that it provides. 

This study seeks to frame these choices 
clearly, and to re-establish the links between 
U.S. foreign policy, security strategy, force 
planning and defense spending. If an 
American peace is to be maintained, and 
expanded, it must have a secure foundation 
on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Four Essential Missions 

America’s global leadership, and its role 
as the guarantor of the current great-power 
peace, relies upon the safety of the 
American homeland; the preservation of a 
favorable balance of power in Europe, the 
Middle East and surrounding energy- 
producing region, and East Asia; and the 
general stability of the international system 
of nation-states relative to terrorists, 
organized crime, and other “non-state 
actors.” The relative importance of these 
elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, 
may rise and fall over time. Europe, for 
example, is now extraordinarily peaceful 
and stable, despite the turmoil in the 
Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to 
be entering a period with increased potential 
for instability and competition. In the Gulf, 
American power and presence has achieved 
relative external security for U.S. allies, but 
the longer-term prospects are murkier. 
Generally, American strategy for the coming 
decades should seek to consolidate the great 
victories won in the 20 th century - which 
have made Germany and Japan into stable 
democracies, for example - maintain 
stability in the Middle East, while setting the 
conditions for 21 st -century successes, 
especially in East Asia. 

A retreat from any one of these 
requirements would call America’s status as 
the world’s leading power into question. As 
we have seen, even a small failure like that 
in Somalia or a halting and incomplete 
triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on 
American credibility. The failure to define a 
coherent global security and military 
strategy during the post-Cold-War period 

has invited challenges; states seeking to 
establish regional hegemony continue to 
probe for the limits of the American security 
perimeter. None of the defense reviews of 
the past decade has weighed fully the range 
of missions demanded by U.S. global 
leadership: defending the homeland, 

fighting and 
winning multiple 
large-scale wars, 
missions which 
preserve the 
current peace, and 
transforming the 
U.S. armed forces 
to exploit the 
“revolution in 
military affairs.” 
Nor have they 
quantified the 
forces and 
necessary to 
execute these 
separately and 
While much 
further detailed 
analysis would be required, it is the puipose 
of this study to outline the large, “full- 
spectrum” forces that are necessary to 
conduct the varied tasks demanded by a 
strategy of American preeminence for today 
and tomorrow. 

None of the 
defense reviews 
of the past 
decade has 
weighed fully 
the range of 
demanded by 
U.S. global 
leadership, nor 
quantified the 
forces and 
necessary to 
execute these 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

HOMELAND DEFENSE. America must defend its homeland. During the Cold War, 
nuclear deterrence was the key element in homeland defense; it remains essential. But the 
new century has brought with it new challenges. While reconfiguring its nuclear force, the 
United States also must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and 
weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action 
by threatening U.S. allies and the American homeland itself. Of all the new and current 
missions for U.S. armed forces, this must have priority. 

LARGE WARS. Second, the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly 
deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars and also to be able to respond to 
unanticipated contingencies in regions where it does not maintain forward-based forces. 
This resembles the “two-war” standard that has been the basis of U.S. force planning over 
the past decade. Yet this standard needs to be updated to account for new realities and 
potential new conflicts. 

CONSTABULARY DUTIES. Third, the Pentagon must retain forces to preserve the 
current peace in ways that fall short of conduction major theater campaigns. A decade’s 
experience and the policies of two administrations have shown that such forces must be 
expanded to meet the needs of the new, long-term NATO mission in the Balkans, the 
continuing no-fly-zone and other missions in Southwest Asia, and other presence missions in 
vital regions of East Asia. These duties are today’s most frequent missions, requiring forces 
configured for combat but capable of long-term, independent constabulary operations. 

Transform U.S. Armed Forces. Finally, the Pentagon must begin now to exploit the so- 
called “revolution in military affairs,” sparked by the introduction of advanced technologies 
into military systems; this must be regarded as a separate and critical mission worthy of a 
share of force structure and defense budgets. 

Current American armed forces are ill- 
prepared to execute these four missions. 
Over the past decade, efforts to design and 
build effective missile defenses have been 
ill-conceived and underfunded, and the 
Clinton Administration has proposed deep 
reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without 
sufficient analysis of the changing global 
nuclear balance of forces. While, broadly 
speaking, the United States now maintains 
sufficient active and reserve forces to meet 
the traditional two-war standard, this is true 
only in the abstract, under the most 
favorable geopolitical conditions. As the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff have admitted 
repeatedly in congressional testimony, they 
lack the forces necessary to meet the two- 
war benchmark as expressed in the warplans 
of the regional commanders-in-chief. The 
requirements for major-war forces must be 
reevaluated to accommodate new strategic 
realities. One of these new realities is the 

requirement for peacekeeping operations; 
unless this requirement is better understood, 
America’s ability to fight major wars will be 
jeopardized. Likewise, the transformation 
process has gotten short shrift. 

To meet the requirements of the four 
new missions highlighted above, the United 
States must undertake a two-stage process. 
The immediate task is to rebuild today’s 
force, ensuring that it is equal to the tasks 
before it: shaping the peacetime enviro¬ 
nment and winning multiple, simultaneous 
theater wars; these forces must be large 
enough to accomplish these tasks without 
running the “high” or “unacceptable” risks it 
faces now. The second task is to seriously 
embark upon a transformation of the 
Defense Department. This itself will be a 
two-stage effort: for the next decade or 
more, the armed forces will continue to 
operate many of the same systems it now 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

does, organize themselves in traditional 
units, and employ current operational 
concepts. However, this transition period 
must be a first step toward more substantial 
reform. Over the next several decades, the 
United States must field a global system of 
missile defenses, divine ways to control the 
new “international commons” of space and 
cyberspace, and build new kinds of 
conventional forces for different strategic 
challenges and a new technological 

Nuclear Forces 

Current conventional wisdom about 
strategic forces in the post-Cold-War world 
is captured in a comment made by the late 
Les Aspin, the Clinton Administration's first 
secretary of defense. Aspin wrote that the 
collapse of the Soviet Union had “literally 
reversed U.S. interests in nuclear weapons” 
and, “Today, if offered the magic wand to 
eradicate the existence and knowledge of 
nuclear weapons, we would very likely 
accept it.” Since the United States is the 
world’s dominant conventional military 
power, this sentiment is understandable. But 
it is precisely because we have such power 
that smaller adversarial states, looking for an 
equalizing advantage, are determined to 
acquire their own weapons of mass 
destruction. Whatever our fondest wishes, 
the reality of the today’s world is that there 
is no magic wand with which to eliminate 
these weapons (or, more fundamentally, the 
interest in acquiring them) and that deterring 
their use requires a reliable and dominant 
U.S. nuclear capability. 

While the formal U.S. nuclear posture 
has remained conservative through the 1994 
Nuclear Posture Review and the 1997 
Quadrennial Defense Review, and senior 
Pentagon leaders speak of the continuing 
need for nuclear deterrent forces, the Clinton 
Administration has taken repeated steps to 
undermine the readiness and effectiveness of 
U.S. nuclear forces. In particular, it has 
virtually ceased development of safer and 

more effective nuclear weapons; brought 
underground testing to a complete halt; and 
allowed the Department of Energy’s 
weapons complex and associated scientific 
expertise to atrophy for lack of support. The 
administration has also made the decision to 
retain current weapons in the active force for 
years beyond their design life. When 
combined with the decision to cut back on 
regular, non-nuclear flight and system tests 
of the weapons themselves, this raises a host 
of questions about the continuing safety and 
reliability of the nation’s strategic arsenal. 
The administration’s stewardship of the 
nation's deterrent capability has been aptly 
described by Congress as “erosion by 

A new assessment of the global 
nuclear balance, one that takes 
account of Chinese and other nuclear 
forces as well as Russian, must 
precede decisions about U.S. nuclear 
force cuts. 

Rather than maintain and improve 
America’s nuclear deterrent, the Clinton 
Administration has put its faith in new arms 
control measures, most notably by signing 
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 
(CTBT). The treaty proposed a new 
multilateral regime, consisting of some 150 
states, whose principal effect would be to 
constrain America's unique role in providing 
the global nuclear umbrella that helps to 
keep states like Japan and South Korea from 
developing the weapons that are well within 
their scientific capability, while doing little 
to stem nuclear weapons proliferation. 
Although the Senate refused to ratify the 
treaty, the administration continues to abide 
by its basic strictures. And while it may 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

make sense to continue the current 
moratorium on nuclear testing for the 
moment - since it would take a number of 
years to refurbish the neglected testing 
infrastructure in any case - ultimately this is 
an untenable situation. If the United States 
is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both 
effective and safe, it will need to test. 

That said, of all the elements of U.S. 
military force posture, perhaps none is more 
in need of reevaluation than America’s 
nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons remain 
a critical component of American military 
power but it is unclear whether the current 
U.S. nuclear arsenal is well-suited to the 
emerging post-Cold War world. Today’s 
strategic calculus encompasses more factors 
than just the balance of terror between the 
United States and Russia. U.S. nuclear force 
planning and related arms control policies 
must take account of a larger set of variables 
than in the past, including the growing 
number of small 
nuclear arsenals - 
from North Korea 
to Pakistan to, 
perhaps soon, 

Iran and Iraq - 
and a modernized 
and expanded 
Chinese nuclear 
force. Moreover, 
there is a question 
about the role 
nuclear weapons 
should play in 
deterring the use 
of other kinds of weapons of mass destruc¬ 
tion, such as chemical and biological, with 
the U.S. having foresworn those weapons’ 
development and use. It addition, there may 
be a need to develop a new family of nuclear 
weapons designed to address new sets of 
military requirements, such as would be 
required in targeting the very deep under¬ 
ground, hardened bunkers that are being 
built by many of our potential adversaries. 
Nor has there been a serious analysis done 
of the benefits versus the costs of maintain¬ 
ing the traditional nuclear “triad.” What is 

needed first is a global net assessment of 
what kinds and numbers of nuclear weapons 
the U.S. needs to meet its security 
responsibilities in a post-Soviet world. 

In short, until the Department of 
Defense can better define future its nuclear 
requirements, significant reductions in U.S. 
nuclear forces might well have unforeseen 
consequences that lessen rather than 
enhance the security of the United States 
and its allies. Reductions, upon review, 
might be called for. But what should finally 
drive the size and character of our nuclear 
forces is not numerical parity with Russian 
capabilities but maintaining American 
strategic superiority - and, with that 
superiority, a capability to deter possible 
hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S. 
nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed 
of; rather, it will be an essential element in 
preserving American leadership in a more 
complex and chaotic world. 

Forces for Major Theater Wars 

The one constant of Pentagon force 
planning through the past decade has been 
the recognized need to retain sufficient 
combat forces to fight and win, as rapidly 
and decisively as possible, multiple, nearly 
simultaneous major theater wars. This 
constant is based upon two important truths 
about the current international order. One, 
the Cold-War standoff between America and 
its allies and the Soviet Union that made for 
caution and discouraged direct aggression 
against the major security interests of either 
side no longer exists. Two, conventional 
warfare remains a viable way for aggressive 
states to seek major changes in the 
international order. 

Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait reflected 
both truths. The invasion would have been 
highly unlikely, if not impossible, within the 
context of the Cold War, and Iraq overran 
Kuwait in a matter of hours. These two 
truths revealed a third: maintaining or 
restoring a favorable order in vital regions in 


stewardship of 
the nation’s 
capability has 
been described 
by Congress as 
“erosion by 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the world such as Europe, the Middle East 
and East Asia places a unique responsibility 
on U.S. armed forces. The Gulf War and 
indeed the subsequent lesser wars in the 
Balkans could hardly have been fought and 
won without the dominant role played by 
American military might. 

Thus, the understanding that U.S. armed 
forces should be shaped by a “two-major- 
war” standard rightly has been accepted as 
the core of America’s superpower status 
since the end of the Cold War. The logic of 
past defense reviews still obtains, and 
received its clear exposition in the 1997 
Quadrennial Defense Review, which argued: 

A force sized and equipped for 
deterring and defeating aggression in 
more than one theater ensures that the 
United States will maintain the 
flexibility to cope with the unpredictable 
and unexpected. Such a capability is 
the sine qua non of a superpower and is 
essential to the credibility of our overall 
national security strategy....If the 
United States were to forego its ability 
to defeat aggression in more than one 
theater at a time, our standing as a 
global power, as the security partner of 
choice and the leader of the 
international community would be 
called in to question. Indeed, some 
allies would undoubtedly read a one- 
war capability as a signal that the 
United States, if heavily engaged 
elsewhere, would no longer be able to 
defend their interests...A one-theater- 
war capacity would risk 
undermining... the credibility of U.S. 
security commitments in key regions of 
the world. This, in turn, could cause 
allies and friends to adopt more 
divergent defense policies and postures, 
thereby weakening the web of alliances 
and coalitions on which we rely to 
protect our interests abroad. 

In short, anything less than a clear two- 
war capacity threatens to devolve into a no¬ 
war strategy. 

Unfortunately, Defense Department 
thinking about this requirement was frozen 

in the early 1990s. The experience of 
Operation Allied Force in the Balkans 
suggests that, if anything, the canonical two- 
war force-sizing standard is more likely to 
be too low than too high. The Kosovo air 
campaign eventually involved the level of 
forces anticipated for a major war, but in a 
theater other than the two - the Korean 
peninsula and Southwest Asia - that have 
generated past Pentagon planning scenarios. 
Moreover, new theater wars that can be 
foreseen, such as an American defense of 
Taiwan against a Chinese invasion or 
punitive attack, have yet to be formally 
considered by Pentagon planners. 

To better judge forces needed for 
building an American peace, the Pentagon 
needs to begin to calculate the force 
necessary to 

U.S. interests 
in Europe, East 
Asia and the 
Gulf at all 
times. The 
actions of our 
adversaries in these regions bear no more 
than a tangential relationship to one another; 
it is more likely that one of these regional 
powers will seize an opening created by 
deployments of U.S. forces elsewhere to 
make mischief. 

Thus, the major-theater-war standard 
should remain the principal force-sizing tool 
for U.S. conventional forces. This not to say 
that this measure has been perfectly applied 
in the past: Pentagon analyses have been 
both too optimistic and too pessimistic, by 
turns. For example, the analyses done of the 
requirement to defeat an Iraqi invasion of 
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia almost certainly 
overestimates the level of force required. 
Conversely, past analyses of a defense of 
South Korea may have underestimated the 
difficulties of such a war, especially if North 
Korea employed weapons of mass destruc¬ 
tion, as intelligence estimates anticipate. 
Moreover, the theater-war analysis done for 

The Joint Chiefs 
have admitted 
they lack the 
forces necessary 
to meet the two- 
war benchmark. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the QDR assumed that Kim Jong II and 
Saddam Hussein each could begin a war - 
perhaps even while employing chemical, 
biological or even nuclear weapons - and 
the United States would make no effort to 
unseat militarily either ruler. In both cases, 
past Pentagon wargames have given little or 
no consideration to the force requirements 
necessary not only to defeat an attack but to 
remove these regimes from power and 
conduct post-combat stability operations. In 
short, past Defense Department application 
of the two-war standard is not a reliable 
guide to the real force requirements - and, 
of course, past reviews included no analysis 
of the kind of campaign in Europe as was 
seen in Operation Allied Force. Because 
past Pentagon strategy reviews have been 
budget-driven exercises, it will be necessary 
to conduct fresh and more realistic analyses 
even of the canonical two-war scenarios. 

In sum, while retaining the spirit of past 
force-planning for major wars, the 
Department of Defense must undertake a 
more nuanced and thoroughgoing review of 
real requirements. The truths that gave rise 
to the original two-war standard endure: 
America’s adversaries will continue to resist 
the building of the American peace; when 
they see an opportunity as Saddam Hussein 
did in 1990, they will employ their most 
powerful armed forces to win on the battle¬ 
field what they could not win in peaceful 
competition; and American armed forces 
will remain the core of efforts to deter, 
defeat, or remove from power regional 

Forces for ‘Constabulary’ Duties 

In addition to improving the analysis 
needed to quantify the requirements for 
major theater wars, the Pentagon also must 
come to grips with the real requirements for 
constabulary missions. The 1997 
Quadrennial Defense Review rightly 
acknowledged that these missions, which it 
dubbed “smaller-scale contingencies,” or 
SSCs, would be the frequent and 

unavoidable diet for U.S. armed forces for 
many years to come: “Based on recent 
experience and intelligence projections, the 
demand for SSC operations is expected to 
remain high over the next 15 to 20 years,” 
the review concluded. Yet, at the same 
time, the QDR failed to allocate any forces 
to these missions, continuing the fiction that, 
for force planning purposes, constabulary 
missions could be considered “lesser 
included cases” of major theater war 
requirements. “U.S. forces must also be 
able to withdraw from SSC operations, 
reconstitute, and then deploy to a major 
theater war in accordance with required 
timelines,” the review argued. 

The increasing number of 
‘constabulary ’ missions for U.S. 
troops, such as in Kosovo above, must 
be considered an integral element in 
Pentagon force planning. 

The shortcomings of this approach were 
underscored by the experience of Operation 
Allied Force in the Balkans. Precisely 
because the forces engaged there would not 
have been able to withdraw, reconstitute and 
redeploy to another operation - and because 
the operation consumed such a large part of 
overall Air Force aircraft - the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff concluded that the United States 
was running “unacceptable” risk in the event 
of war elsewhere. Thus, facing up to the 
realities of multiple constabulary missions 
will require a permanent allocation of U.S. 
armed forces. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Nor can the problem be solved by 
simply withdrawing from current 
constabulary missions or by vowing to avoid 
them in the future. Indeed, withdrawing 
from today’s ongoing missions would be 
problematic. Although the no-fly-zone air 
operations over northern and southern Iraq 
have continued without pause for almost a 
decade, they remain an essential element in 
U.S. strategy and force posture in the 
Persian Gulf region. Ending these opera¬ 
tions would hand Saddam Hussein an impor¬ 
tant victory, something any American leader 
would be loath to do. Likewise, withdraw¬ 
ing from the Balkans would place American 
leadership in Europe - indeed, the viability 
of NATO - in question. While none of 
these operations involves a mortal threat, 
they do engage U.S. national security 
interests directly, as well as engaging 
American moral interests. 

Further, these constabulary missions are 
far more complex and likely to generate 
violence than traditional “peacekeeping” 
missions. For one, they demand American 
political leadership rather than that of the 
United Nations, as the failure of the UN 
mission in the Balkans and the relative 
success of NATO operations there attests. 
Nor can the United States assume a UN-like 
stance of neutrality; the preponderance of 
American power is so great and its global 
interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be 
indifferent to the political outcome in the 
Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it 
deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these 
missions demand forces basically configured 
for combat. While they also demand 
personnel with special language, logistics 
and other support skills, the first order of 
business in missions such as in the Balkans 
is to establish security, stability and order. 
American Poops, in particular, must be 
regarded as part of an overwhelmingly 
powerful force. 

With a decade’s worth of experience 
both of the requirements for current 
constabulary missions and with the chaotic 
political environment of the post-Cold War 

era, the Defense Department is more than 
able to conduct a useful assessment to 
quantify the overall needs for forces 
engaged in constabulary duties. While part 
of the solution lies in repositioning existing 
forces, there is no escaping the conclusion 
that these new missions, unforeseen when 
the defense drawdown began a decade ago, 
require an increase in overall personnel 
strength and U.S. force structure. 

Transformation Forces 

The fourth element in American force 
posture - and certainly the one which holds 
the key to any longer-term hopes to extend 
the current Pax Americana - is the mission 
to transform U.S. military forces to meet 
new geopolitical and technological 
challenges. While the prime directive for 
transformation will be to design and deploy 
a global missile defense system, the effects 
of information and other advanced techno¬ 
logies promise to revolutionize the nature of 
conventional armed forces. Moreover, the 
need to create weapons systems optimized 
for operations in the Pacific theater will 
create requirements quite distinct from the 
current generation of systems designed for 
warfare on the European continent and those 
new systems like the F-22 fighter that also 
were developed to meet late-Cold-War 

Although the basic concept for a system 
of global missile defenses capable of 
defending the United States and its allies 
against the threat of smaller and simpler 
ballistic missiles has been well understood 
since the late 1980s, a decade has been 
squandered in developing the requisite 
technologies. In fact, work on the key 
elements of such a system, especially those 
that would operate in space, has either been 
so slowed or halted completely, so that the 
process of deploying robust missile defenses 
remains a long-term project. If for no other 
reason, the mission to create such a missile 
defense system should be considered a 
matter of military transformation. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

As will be argued more fully below, 
effective ballistic missile defenses will be 
the central element in the exercise of 
American power and the projection of U.S. 
military forces abroad. Without it, weak 
states operating small arsenals of crude 
ballistic missiles, armed with basic nuclear 
warheads or other weapons of mass destruc¬ 
tion, will be a in a strong position to deter 
the United States from using conventional 
force, no matter the technological or other 
advantages we may enjoy. Even if such 
enemies are merely able to threaten 
American allies rather than the United States 

homeland itself, America’s ability to project 
power will be 

deeply . , For the United 


Alas, neither States to retain the 

Admini- technological and 

stration tactical advan- 

strategists nor 
force planners 

tages it now 
enjoys, the 

seem to have 
grasped this 

effort must be 
considered as 
pressing a military 

efforts to fund, mission as 

design and 
develop an 

preparing for 
today’s theater 

system of wars. 


defenses do not reflect any sense of urgency. 
Nonetheless, the first task in transforming 
U.S. military to meet the technological and 
strategic realities of a new century is to 
create such a system. 

Creating a system of global missile 
defenses is but the first task of 
transformation; the need to reshape U.S. 
conventional forces is almost as pressing. 
For, although American armed forces 
possess capabilities and enjoy advantages 
that far surpass those of even our richest and 
closest allies, let alone our declared and 
potential enemies, the combination of 
technological and strategic change that 

marks the new century places these 
advantages at risk. Today’s U.S. 
conventional forces are masters of a mature 
paradigm of warfare, marked by the 
dominance of armored vehicles, aircraft 
carriers and, especially, manned tactical 
aircraft, that is beginning to be overtaken by 
a new paradigm, marked by long-range 
precision strikes and the proliferation of 
missile technologies. Ironically, it has been 
the United States that has pioneered this new 
form of high-technology conventional 
warfare: it was suggested by the 1991 Gulf 
War and has been revealed more fully by the 
operations of the past decade. Even the 
“Allied Force” air war for Kosovo showed a 
distorted version of the emerging paradigm 
of warfare. 

Yet even these pioneering capabilities 
are the residue of investments first made in 
the mid- and late 1980s; over the past 
decade the pace of innovation within the 
Pentagon has slowed measurably. In part, 
this is due to reduced defense budgets, the 
overwhelming dominance of U.S. forces 
today, and the multiplicity of constabulary 
missions. And without the driving challenge 
of the Soviet military threat, efforts at 
innovation have lacked urgency. 
Nonetheless, a variety of new potential 
challenges can be clearly foreseen. The 
Chinese military, in particular, seeks to 
exploit the revolution in military affairs to 
offset American advantages in naval and air 
power, for example. If the United States is 
to retain the technological and tactical 
advantages it now enjoys in large-scale 
conventional conflicts, the effort at 
transformation must be considered as 
pressing a mission as preparing for today’s 
potential theater wars or constabulary 
missions - indeed, it must receive a 
significant, separate allocation of forces and 
budgetary resources over the next two 

In addition, the process of transfor¬ 
mation must proceed from an appreciation 
of American strategy and political goals. 

For example, as the leader of a global 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

network of alliances and strategic 
partnerships, U.S. armed forces cannot 
retreat into a “Fortress America.” Thus, 
while long-range precision stakes will 
certainly play an increasingly large role in 
U.S. military operations, American forces 
must remain deployed abroad, in large 
numbers. To remain as the leader of a 
variety of coalitions, the United States must 
partake in the risks its allies face; security 
guarantees that depend solely upon power 
projected from the continental United States 
will inevitably become discounted. 

Moreover, the process of transformation 
should proceed in a spirit of competition 
among the services and between service and 
joint approaches. Inevitably, new 
technologies may create the need for entirely 
new military organizations; this report will 
argue below that the emergence of space as 
a key theater of war suggests forcefully that, 
in time, it may be wise to create a separate 
“space service.” Thus far, the Defense 
Department has attempted to take a 
prematurely joint approach to 
transformation. While it is certain that new 
technologies will allow for the closer 
combination of traditional service 
capabilities, it is too early in the process of 
transformation to choke off what should be 
the healthy and competitive face of 
“interservice rivalry.” Because the separate 
services are the military institutions most 
attuned to providing forces designed to carry 
out the specific missions required by U.S. 
strategy, they are in fact best equipped to 
become the engines of transformation and 
change within the context of enduring 
mission requirements. 

Finally, it must be remembered that the 
process of transformation is indeed a 
process: even the most vivid view of the 
armed forces of the future must be grounded 
in an understanding of today’s forces. In 

general terms, it seems likely that the 
process of transformation will take several 
decades and that U.S. forces will continue to 
operate many, if not most, of today’s 
weapons systems for a decade or more. 

Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of 
transformation will in fact be a two-stage 
process: first of transition, then of more 
thoroughgoing transformation. The break¬ 
point will come when a preponderance of 
new weapons systems begins to enter 
service, perhaps when, for example, 
unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as 
numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, 
the Pentagon should be very wary of making 
large investments in new programs - tanks, 
planes, aircraft carriers, for example - that 
would commit U.S. forces to current 
paradigms of warfare for many decades to 

In conclusion, it should be clear that 
these four essential missions for maintaining 
American military preeminence are quite 
separate and distinct from one another - 
none should be considered a “lesser included 
case” of another, even though they are 
closely related and may, in some cases, 
require similar sorts of forces. Conversely, 
the failure to provide sufficient forces to 
execute these four missions must result in 
problems for American strategy. The failure 
to build missile defenses will put America 
and her allies at grave risk and compromise 
the exercise of American power abroad. 
Conventional forces that are insufficient to 
fight multiple theater wars simultaneously 
cannot protect American global interests and 
allies. Neglect or withdrawal from 
constabulary missions will increase the 
likelihood of larger wars breaking out and 
encourage petty tyrants to defy American 
interests and ideals. And the failure to 
prepare for tomorrow’s challenges will 
ensure that the current Pax Americana 
comes to an early end. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Repositioning Today’s Force 

Despite the centrality of major theater 
wars in conventional-force planning, it has 
become painfully obvious that U.S. forces 
have other vital roles to play in building an 
enduring American peace. The presence of 
American forces in critical regions around 
the world is the visible expression of the 
extent of America’s status as a superpower 
and as the guarantor of liberty, peace and 
stability. Our role in shaping the peacetime 
security environment is an essential one, not 
to be renounced without great cost: it will be 
difficult, if not impossible, to sustain the 
role of global guarantor without a substantial 
overseas presence. Our allies, for whom 
regional problems are vital security interests, 
will come to doubt our willingness to defend 
their interests if U.S. forces withdraw into a 
Fortress America. Equally important, our 
worldwide web of alliances provides the 
most effective and efficient means for 
exercising American global leadership; the 
benefits far outweigh the burdens. Whether 
established in permanent bases or on 
rotational deployments, the operations of 
U.S. and allied forces abroad provide the 
first line of defense of what may be 
described as the “American security 

Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, 
this perimeter has expanded slowly but 
inexorably. In Europe, NATO has 
expanded, admitting three new members and 
acquiring a larger number of “adjunct” 
members through the Partnership for Peace 
program. Tens of thousands of U.S, NATO 
and allied troops are on patrol in the 
Balkans, and have fought a number of 
significant actions there; in effect, the region 

is on the road to becoming a NATO 
protectorate. In the Persian Gulf region, the 
presence of American forces, along with 
British and French units, has become a semi¬ 
permanent fact of life. Though the 
immediate mission of those forces is to 
enforce the no-fly zones over northern and 
southern Iraq, they represent the long-term 
commitment of the United States and its 
major allies to a region of vital importance. 
Indeed, the United 
States has for 
decades sought to 
play a more 
permanent role in 
Gulf regional 
security. While 
the unresolved 
conflict with Iraq 
provides the 
justification, the 
need for a 
American force 
presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of 
the regime of Saddam Hussein. In East 
Asia, the pattern of U.S. military operations 
is shifting to the south: in recent years, 
significant naval forces have been sent to the 
region around Taiwan in response to 
Chinese provocation, and now a contingent 
of U.S. Poops is supporting the Australian- 
led mission to East Timor. Across the 
globe, the trend is for a larger U.S. security 
perimeter, bringing with it new kinds of 

The placement of U.S. bases has yet to 
reflect these realities - if anything, the 

Guarding the 
security peri¬ 
meter today - 
and tomorrow - 
will require 
changes in U.S. 
deployments and 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

worldwide archipelago of U.S. military 
installations has contracted as the perimeter 
of U.S. security interests has expanded. 
American armed forces far from ideally 
positioned to respond to the needs of the 
times, but the Pentagon remains tied to 
levels of forward-deployed forces that bear 
little relationship to military capabilities or 
realities. The air war in Kosovo provides a 
vivid example: during Operation Allied 
Force, U.S. and NATO warplanes were 
spread out across the continent of Europe 
and even into Asiatic Turkey, forced into a 
widely dispersed and very complex pattern 
of operations - requiring extensive refueling 
efforts and limiting the campaign itself - by 
a lack of adequate air bases in southeastern 
Europe. The network of American overseas 
installations and deployments requires 
reconfiguration. Likewise, the structure of 
U.S. forces needs to be reconsidered in light 
of the changing mission of the American 
military. Overall U.S. military force 
structure must be rationalized to accommo¬ 
date the fact that the presence of these forces 
in far-flung outposts or on patrol overseas 
may be as important as their theater¬ 
warfighting missions, especially in Europe. 
The requirements of Balkans stabilization, 
NATO expansion (including Partnership for 
Peace) and other missions within the theater 
render it unrealistic to expect U.S. forces in 
Europe to be readily available for other 
crises, as formal Pentagon planning 
presumes. The continuing challenges from 
Iraq also make it unwise to draw down 
forces in the Gulf dramatically. Securing 
the American perimeter today - and 
tomorrow - will necessitate shifts in U.S. 
overseas operations. 

American armed forces stationed abroad 
and on rotational deployments around the 
world should be considered as the first line 
of American defenses, providing recon¬ 
naissance and security against the prospect 
of larger crises and conducting stability 
operations to prevent their outbreak. These 
forces need to be among the most ready, 
with finely honed warfighting skills - and 
only forces configured for combat indicate 

the true American commitment to our allies 
and their security interests - but they also 
need to be highly versatile and mobile with a 
broad range of capabilities; they are the 
cavalry on the new American frontier. In 
the event of a large-scale war, they must be 
able to shape the battlefield while 
reinforcing forces based primarily in the 
United States arrive to apply decisive blows 
to the enemy. Not only must they be 
repositioned to reflect the shifting strategic 
landscape, they also must be reorganized 
and restructured to reflect their new 
missions and to integrate new technologies. 


At the end of the Cold War, the United 
States maintained more than 300,000 troops 
in Europe, including two Army corps and 13 
Air Force wings plus a variety of indepen¬ 
dent sub-units, primarily based in Germany. 
The central plain of Germany was the 
central theater of the Cold War and, short of 
an all-out nuclear exchange, a Soviet 
armored invasion of western Europe the 
principal threat faced by the United States 
and its NATO allies. Today Germany is 
unified, Poland and the Czech Republic 
members of NATO, and the Russian army 
has retreated to the gates of Moscow while 
becoming primarily engaged in the 
Caucasus and to the south more generally. 
Though northern and central Europe are 
arguably more stable now than at any time 
in history, the majority of American forces 
in Europe are still based in the north, 
including a theater army and a corps of two 
heavy divisions in Germany and just five 
Air Force wings, plus a handful of other, 
smaller units. 

But while northern and central Europe 
have remained extraordinarily stable, and 
the eastern Germany, Poland and the Czech 
Republic have become reintegrated into the 
mainstream of European political, economic 
and cultural life, the situation in south¬ 
eastern Europe has been a tumultuous one. 
The Balkans, and southeastern Europe more 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

generally, present the major hurdle toward 
the creation of a Europe “whole and free” 
from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The delay 
in bringing security and stability to south¬ 
eastern Europe has not only prevented the 
consolidation of the victory in the Cold War, 
it has created a zone of violence and conflict 
and introduced uncertainty about America’s 
role in Europe. 

The continuing deployment of forces in 
the Balkans reflects a U.S. commitment 
to the region’s security. By refusing to 
treat these deployments as a shift of the 
permanent American presence in 
Europe, the Clinton Administration has 
increased the burden on the armed 
services exponentially. 

At the same time, the continuing 
deployment of forces in the Balkans reflects 
what is in fact a long-term American 
commitment to the security of the region. 

But by refusing to treat these deployments 
as an expansion - or shift - of the permanent 
American presence in Europe, reflecting an 
enduring interest, the Clinton 
Administration has increased the burden on 
the armed services exponentially. Rather 
than recognizing the need to reposition and 
reconfigure U.S. forces in Europe away 
from the north to the southeast, current 
policy has been to rotate units in and out of 
the Balkans, destroying their readiness to 
perform other missions and tying up an 
increasingly large slice of a significantly 
reduced force. 

Despite the shifting focus of conflict in 
Europe, a requirement to station U.S. forces 
in northern and central Europe remains. The 
region is stable, but a continued American 
presence helps to assure the major European 
powers, especially Germany, that the United 
States retains its longstanding security 
interest in the continent. This is especially 
important in light of the nascent European 
moves toward an independent defense 
“identity” and policy; it is important that 
NATO not be replaced by the European 
Union, leaving the United States without a 
voice in European security affairs. In 
addition, many of the current installations 
and facilities provide critical infrastructure 
for supporting U.S. forces throughout 
Europe and for reinforcement in the event of 
a crisis. From airbases in England and 
Germany to headquarters and Army units in 
Belgium and Germany, much of the current 
network of U.S. bases in northern and 
central retains its relevance today as in the 
Cold War. 

However, changes should be made to 
reflect the larger shift in European security 
needs. U.S. Army Europe should be 
transformed from a single corps of two 
heavy divisions and support units into 
versatile, combined-arms brigade-sized units 
capable of independent action and 
movement over operational distances. U.S. 
Air Force units in Europe need to undergo a 
similar reorientation. The current 
infrastructure in England and Germany 
should be retained. The NATO air base at 
Aviano, Italy, long the primary location for 
air operations over the Balkans, needs to be 
substantially improved. As with ground 
forces, serious consideration should be given 
to establishing a permanent and modern 
NATO and U.S. airfield in Hungary for 
support to central and southern Europe. In 
Turkey, Incirlik Air Base, home of 
Operation Northern Watch, also needs to be 
expanded, improved and perhaps 
supplemented with a new base in eastern 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Although U.S. Navy and Marine forces 
generally operate on a regular cycle of 
deployments to European waters, they rely 
on a network of permanent bases in the 
region, especially in the Mediterranean. 
These should be retained, and consideration 
given to establishing a more robust presence 
in the Black Sea. As NATO expands and 
the pattern of U.S. military operations in 
Europe continues to shift to the south and 
east, U.S. naval presence in the Black Sea is 
sure to increase. However, as will be 
discussed in detail below, this presence 
should be based less frequently on full-scale 
carrier battle groups. 

Persian Gulf 

In the decade since the end of the Cold 
War, the Persian Gulf and the surrounding 
region has witnessed a geometric increase in 
the presence of U.S. armed forces, peaking 
above 500,000 troops during Operation 
Desert Storm, but rarely falling below 
20,000 in the intervening years. In Saudi 
Arabia, Kuwait and other neighboring states 
roughly 5,000 airmen and a large and varied 
fleet of Air Force aircraft patrol the skies of 
Operation Southern Watch, often comple¬ 
mented by Navy aircraft from carriers in the 
Gulf and, during the strikes reacting to 
Saddam Hussein’s periodic provocations, 
cruise missiles from Navy surface vessels 
and submarines. Flights from Turkey under 
Northern Watch also involve substantial 
forces, and indeed more often result in 
combat actions. 

After eight years of no-fly-zone 
operations, there is little reason to anticipate 
that the U.S. air presence in the region 
should diminish significantly as long as 
Saddam Hussein remains in power. 

Although Saudi domestic sensibilities 
demand that the forces based in the 
Kingdom nominally remain rotational 
forces, it has become apparent that this is 
now a semi-permanent mission. From an 
American perspective, the value of such 
bases would endure even should Saddam 

pass from the scene. Over the long term, 
Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. 
interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even 
should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, 
retaining forward-based forces in the region 
would still be an essential element in U.S. 
security strategy given the longstanding 
American interests in the region. 

Almost a decade after the end of the 
Gulf War, no-fly-zone operations 
continue over northern and southern 

In addition to the aircraft enforcing the 
no-fly zone, the United States now also 
retains what amounts to a near-permanent 
land force presence in Kuwait. A substantial 
heavy task force with almost the strength of 
a brigade rotates four times a year on 
average for maneuvers and joint training 
with the Kuwaiti army, with the result that 
commanders now believe that, in 
conjunction with the Southern Watch fleet, 
Kuwait itself is strongly defended against 
any Iraqi attack. With a minor increase in 
strength, more permanent basing 
arrangements, and continued no-fly and “no¬ 
drive” zone enforcement, the danger of a 
repeat short-warning Iraqi invasion as in 
1990 would be significantly reduced. 

With the rationalization of ground-based 
U.S. air forces in the region, the demand for 
carrier presence in the region can be relaxed. 
As recent strikes against Iraq demonstrate, 
the preferred weapon for punitive raids is 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the cruise missile, supplemented by stealthy 
strike aircraft and longer-range Air Force 
strike aircraft. Carrier aircraft are most 
useful in sustaining a campaign begun with 
missiles and stealth strike aircraft, indicating 
that a surface action group capable of 
launching several hundred cruise missiles is 
the most valuable naval presence in the 
Gulf. With a substantial permanent Army 
ground presence in Kuwait, the demands for 
Marine presence in the Gulf could be scaled 
back as well. 

East Asia 

Current U.S. force planning calls for the 
stationing of approximately 100,000 U.S. 
ti'oops in Asia, but this level reflects 
Pentagon inertia and the legacy of the Cold 
War more than serious thinking about 
current strategic requirements or defense 
needs. The prospect is that East Asia will 
become an increasingly important region, 
marked by the rise of Chinese power, while 
U.S. forces may decline in number. 

Conventional wisdom has it that the 
37,000-man U.S. garrison in South Korea is 
merely there to protect against the possi¬ 
bility of an invasion from the North. This 
remains the garrison’s central mission, but 
these are now the only U.S. forces based 
permanently on the Asian continent. They 
will still have a vital role to play in U.S. 
security strategy in the event of Korean 
unification and with the rise of Chinese 
military power. While Korea unification 
might call for the reduction in American 
presence on the peninsula and a transfor¬ 
mation of U.S force posture in Korea, the 
changes would really reflect a change in 
their mission - and changing technological 
realities - not the termination of their 
mission. Moreover, in any realistic post¬ 
unification scenario, U.S. forces are likely to 
have some role in stability operations in 
North Korea. It is premature to speculate on 
the precise size and composition of a post¬ 
unification U.S. presence in Korea, but it is 
not too early to recognize that the presence 

of American forces in Korea serves a larger 
and longer-range strategic purpose. For the 
present, any reduction in capabilities of the 
current U.S. garrison on the peninsula would 
be unwise. If anything, there is a need to 
bolster them, especially with respect to their 
ability to defend against missile attacks and 
to limit the effects of North Korea’s massive 
artillery capability. In time, or with 
unification, the structure of these units will 
change and their manpower levels fluctuate, 
but U.S. presence in this corner of Asia 
should continue. 

A similar rationale argues in favor of 
retaining substantial forces in Japan. In 
recent years, the stationing of large forces in 
Okinawa has become increasingly contro¬ 
versial in Japanese domestic politics, and 
while efforts to accommodate local sensi¬ 
bilities are warranted, it is essential to retain 
the capabilities U.S. forces in Okinawa 
represent. If the United States is to remain 
the guarantor of security in Northeast Asia, 
and to hold together a de facto alliance 
whose other main pillars are Korea and 
Japan maintaining forward-based U.S. 
forces is essential. 

In Southeast Asia, American forces are 
too sparse to adequately address rising 
security requirements. Since its withdrawal 
from the Philippines in 1992, the United 
States has not had a significant permanent 
military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor 
can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily 
operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast 
Asia - and certainly not without placing 
their commitments in Korea at risk. Except 
for routine patrols by naval and Marine 
forces, the security of this strategically 
significant and increasingly tumultuous 
region has suffered from American neglect. 
As the crisis in East Timor demonstrated, 
even the strongest of our allies in the region 
- from Japan to South Korea to Australia - 
possess limited military capabilities and 
little ability to project their forces rapidly in 
a crisis or sustain them over time. At the 
same time, the East Timor crisis and the 
larger question of political reform in 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Indonesia and Malaysia highlight the vola¬ 
tility of the region. Finally, Southeast Asia 
region has long been an area of great interest 
to China, which clearly seeks to regain influ¬ 
ence in the region. In recent years, China 
has gradually increased its presence and 
operations in the region. 

Raising U.S. military strength in East 
Asia is the key to coping with the rise of 
China to great-power status. For this to 
proceed peacefully, U.S. armed forces must 
retain their military preeminence and there¬ 
by reassure our regional allies. In Northeast 
Asia, the United 
States must 
maintain and 
tighten its ties 
with the Re¬ 
public of Korea 
and Japan. In 
Southeast Asia, 
only the United 
States can reach 
out to regional 
powers like Australia, Indonesia and 
Malaysia and others. This will be a difficult 
task requiring sensitivity to diverse national 
sentiments, but it is made all the more com¬ 
pelling by the emergence of new democratic 
governments in the region. By guaranteeing 
the security of our current allies and newly 
democratic nations in East Asia, the United 
States can help ensure that the rise of China 
is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American 
and allied power in the region may provide a 
spur to the process of democratization inside 
China itself. 

In sum, it is time to increase the pre¬ 
sence of American forces in Southeast Asia. 
Control of key sea lines of communication, 
ensuring access to rapidly growing eco¬ 
nomies, maintaining regional stability while 
fostering closer ties to fledgling democracies 
and, perhaps most important, supporting the 
nascent trends toward political liberty are all 
enduring security interests for America. No 
U.S. strategy can constrain a Chinese 
challenge to American regional leadership if 
our security guarantees to Southeast Asia are 

intermittent and U.S. military presence a 
periodic affair. For this reason, an increased 
naval presence in Southeast Asia, while 
necessary, will not be sufficient; as in the 
Balkans, relying solely on allied forces or 
the rotation of U.S. forces in stability 
operations not only increases the stress on 
those forces but undercuts the political goals 
of such missions. For operational as well as 
political reasons, stationing rapidly mobile 
U.S. ground and air forces in the region will 
be required. 

Moreover, a return to Southeast Asia 
will add impetus to the slow process of 
alliance-building now afoot in the region. It 
is conventional wisdom that the nations of 
Southeast Asia are resistant to a NATO-like 
regional alliance, but the regional response 
to the East Timor crisis - including that of 
the new Indonesian government - has been 
encouraging. Indeed, forces from the 
Philippines have replaced those from 
Australia as the lead element in the UN 
peacekeeping mission there. And certainly 
efforts through the Asian Regional Forum 
suggest a trend to closer regional 
coordination that might develop into a more 
permanent, alliance-like arrangement. In 
this process, the United States has the key 
role to play. A heightened U.S. military 
presence in Southeast Asia would be a 
strong spur to regional security cooperation, 
providing the core around which a de facto 
coalition could jell. 

Deployment Bases 

As a supplement to forces stationed 
abroad under long-term basing 
arrangements, the United States should seek 
to establish a network of “deployment 
bases” or “forward operating bases” to 
increase the reach of current and future 
forces. Not only will such an approach 
improve the ability to project force to 
outlying regions, it will help circumvent the 
political, practical and financial constraints 
on expanding the network of American 
bases overseas. 

In Southeast 
Asia, American 
forces are too 
sparse to address 
rising security 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

These deployment or forward operating 
bases can range from relatively modest 
agreements with other nations as well as 
modest improvements to existing facilities 
and bases. Prepositioned materiel also 
would speed the initial deployment and 
improve the sustainability of U.S. forces 
when deployed for training, joint training 

with the host 
nation, or 
operations in 
time of crisis. 
Costs for 

can be shared 
with the host 
nation and be 
offset as part 
of U.S. 

security assistance, and would help reduce 
the requirement for U.S. forces to deploy to 
"bare bones” facilities. Such installations 
would be a “force multiplier” in power 
projection operations, as well as help 
solidify political and security ties with host 

Currently, U.S. Southern Command, the 
Pentagon’s regional command for Latin 
America, is moving to implement a plan for 
“forward operating locations” to make up 
for the loss of Howard Air Force Base in the 
wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Panama 
and the return of the Canal Zone. Indeed, 
sustaining effective counterdrug air 
operations will be difficult after the loss of 
Howard until arrangements for the new 
locations are in place. To achieve full 
coverage of the region for counterdrug 
operations, the command plans to utilize 
airfields ranging from Puerto Rico to 

In addition to securing agreements that 
permit adequate access for U.S. forces to 
airfields, the new locations must be capable 
of 24-hour, all-weather operations; have 
adequate air traffic control; have runways of 
at least 8000 feet that are capable of bearing 

heavy cargo aircraft; have modern refueling 
and emergency services; ramp space to park 
several AWACS-size planes and meet a 
variety of other requirements, including safe 
quarters and offices for American personnel. 
Yet the command believes that for a 
relatively small cost - perhaps $120 million 
for the first two of three planned bases - and 
with minimal permanent manning it can 
offset the loss of a strategic asset like 

A recent study done for the Air Force 
indicates that a worldwide network of 
forward operating bases - perhaps more 
sophisticated and suited for combat 
operations than the counterdrug locations 
planned by SOUTHCOM - might cost $5 
billion to $10 billion through 2010. The 
study speculates that some of the cost might 
be paid for by host nations anxious to 
cement ties with the United States, or, in 
Europe, be considered as common NATO 
assets and charged to the NATO common 

While it should be a clear U.S. policy 
that such bases are intended as a supplement 
to the current overseas base structure, they 
could also be seen as a precursor to an 
expanded structure. This might be attractive 
to skittish allies - as in the Persian Gulf 
region, where a similar system is in 
operation - for whom close ties with 
America provokes domestic political 
controversy. It would also increase the 
effectiveness of current U.S. forces in a 
huge region like Southeast Asia, 
supplementing naval operations in the 
region. Such a network also would greatly 
increase U.S. operational flexibility in times 
of conflict. 

Rotational Naval Forces 

The size of today’s Navy and Marine 
Corps is driven primarily by the demands of 
current rotation policy; the requirement for 
11-carrier Navy is a reflection of the 
perceived need to keep, on average, about 

It would be wise to 
reduce the 
frequency of 
carrier presence in 
the Mediterranean 
and the Gulf while 
increasing U.S. 
Navy presence in 
the Pacific. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

three carriers deployed at any one time. But 
because the carrier based in Japan is consi¬ 
dered “deployed” even when in port and not 
at sea, the real ratio of total ships to ships at 
sea is closer to five- or six-to-one. Indeed, 
according to the Quadrennial Defense 
Review analysis, the requirements for Navy 
forces under “presence” missions exceeds 
the two-war requirement for Navy forces by 
about 20 percent. 

Current rotation plans call for a contin¬ 
uous battle group presence in Northeast Asia 
and close to continuous presence in the 
Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. 
However, significant changes in Navy 
carrier presence and rotation patterns are 
called for. Given the ability to station land- 
based forces in Europe and the Gulf, and the 
size and nature of the East Asia theater, it 
would be wise to reduce the frequency of 
carrier presence in the Mediterranean and 
the Gulf while increasing U.S. Navy 
presence in the Pacific. Further, it is 
preferable, for strategic and operational 
reasons, to create a second major home port 
for a carrier battle group in the southern 
Pacific, perhaps in Australia or the 
Philippines. Generally speaking, the 
emphasis of Navy operations, and carrier 
operations in particular, should be increas¬ 
ingly weighted toward the western Pacific. 
Marine deployments would follow suit. 

Secondarily, the Navy should begin to 
consider other ways of meeting its vital 

presence missions than with carrier battle 
groups. As cruise missiles increasingly 
become the Navy’s first-strike weapon of 
choice, the value of cruise missile platforms 
as a symbol of American might around the 
world are coming to surpass the deterrent 
value of the carrier. Unfortunately, during 
the course of the post-Cold-War drawdown, 
the Navy has divested itself of relatively 
more surface combatants and submarines 
than aircraft carriers. Though this makes 
sense in terms of carrier operations - Aegis- 
equipped cruisers and destroyers have far 
greater capabilities and range than previous 
generations of ships, for example - this now 
limits the Navy’s ability to transition to new 
ways of conducting both its presence and 
potential wartime missions. 

Moreover, as the Navy introduces new 
classes of ships, its manpower requirements 
- one of the important factors in determining 
the length of deployments and thus overall 
Navy rotational policy - will be reduced. 

The planned DD-21 destroyer will cut crew 
size from 300 to 100. Reduced crew size, as 
well as improved overall ship performance, 
will increase the opportunities to rotate 
crews while keeping ships deployed; the 
complexity of crew operations involving 
100 sailors and officers is far less than, for 
example, the 6,000-man crew of a carrier 
plus its air wing. In sum, new capabilities 
will open up new ways of conducting 
missions that will allow for increased naval 
presence at a lower cost. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Rebuilding Today’s Armed Services 

Executing the variety of missions 
outlined above depends upon the capabilities 
of the U.S. armed services. For the past 
decade, the health of the armed services has 
steadily declined. Not merely have their 
budgets been dramatically reduced, their 
force structures cut and their personnel 
strength sapped, modernization programs 
starved and efforts at transformation 
strangled, but the quality of military life, 
essential for preserving a volunteer force, 
has been degraded. From barracks to 
headquarters to maintenance bay, the 
services’ infrastructure has suffered from 
neglect. The quality of military housing, 
especially abroad, ill becomes a great nation. 
The other sinews of a strong service, parti¬ 
cularly including the military education and 
training systems, have been dispropor¬ 
tionately and shortsightedly reduced. 
Shortages of manpower result in soldiers, 
sailors, airmen and Marines spending 
increased amounts of time on base main¬ 
tenance - mowing grass, repairing roofs, 
“painting rocks.” Most disappointing of all, 
military culture and the confidence of 
service members in their senior leaders is 
suffering. As several recent studies and 
surveys have demonstrated, civil-military 
relations in contemporary America are 
increasingly tense. 

Army: To ‘Complete’ Europe 
And Defend the Persian Gulf 

Of all the ai med services, the Army has 
been most profoundly changed by the end of 
the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet 
empire in Eastern Europe. The Army’s 
active-duty strength has been reduced by 40 

percent and its European garrison by three 
quarters. At the end of the Cold War, the 
Army budget was 50 percent higher than it 
is this year; its procurement spending almost 
70 percent higher. 

At the same time, the Army’s role in 
post-Cold-War military operations remains 
the measure of American geopolitical 
commitment. In the 1991 Gulf War, the 
limits of Bush Administration policy were 
revealed by the 
reluctance to 
engage in land 
combat and the 
limit on ground 
within the 
Kuwait theater. 

In the Balkans, 
relatively short 
air campaigns 
have been 
followed by 
extended ground 
operations; even the 78 days of Operation 
Allied Force pale in comparison to the long¬ 
term effort to stabilize Kosovo. In short, the 
value of land power continues to appeal to a 
global superpower, whose security interests 
rest upon maintaining and expanding a 
world-wide system of alliances as well as on 
the ability to win wars. While maintaining 
its combat role, the U.S. Army has acquired 
new missions in the past decade - most 
immediately, missions associated with 
completing the task of creating a Europe 
“whole and free” and defending American 
interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle 

Elements of 
U.S. Army 
Europe should 
be redeployed to 
Europe, while a 
permanent unit 
should be based 
in the Persian 
Gulf region. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

These new missions will require the 
continued stationing of U.S. Army units 
abroad. Although these units should be 
reconfigured and repositioned to reflect 
current realities, their value as a 
representation of America’s role as the 
prime guarantor of security is as great as 
their immediate war-fighting capabilities. 
Indeed, the greatest problem confronting the 
Army today is providing sufficient forces for 
both these vital missions; the Army is 
simply too small to do both well. 

These broad missions will continue to 
justify the requirement for a large active 
U.S. Army. The Army’s increasing use of 
reserve component forces for these 
constabulary missions breaks the implied 
compact with reservists that their role is to 
serve as a hedge against a genuine military 
emergency. As long as the U.S. garrisons in 
the Balkans, for example, require large 
numbers of linguists, military police, civil 
affairs and other specialists, the active-duty 
Army must boost its ranks of soldiers with 
these skills. Likewise, as high-intensity 
combat changes, the Army must find new 
ways to recruit and retain soldiers with high- 
technology skills, perhaps creating 
partnerships with industry for extremely 
skilled reservists, or considering some skills 
as justifying a warrant-officer, rather than an 
enlisted, rank structure. In particular, the 
Army should: 

• Be restored in active-duty strength 
and structure to meet the require¬ 
ments of its current missions. Overall 
active strength should rise to approxi¬ 
mately 525,000 soldiers from the 
current strength of 475,000. Much of 
this increase should bolster the over¬ 
deployed and under-manned units 
that provide combat support and 
combat service support, such as 
military intelligence, military police, 
and other similar units. 

• Undertake selective modernization 
efforts, primarily to increase its 
tactical and operational mobility and 

increase the effectiveness of current 
combat systems through “digiti¬ 
zation” - the process of creating 
tactical information networks. The 
Army should accelerate its plans to 
purchase medium-weight vehicles, 
acquire the Comanche helicopter and 
the HIMARS rocket-artillery system; 
likewise, the heavy Crusader artillery 
system, though a highly capable 
howitzer, is an unwise investment 
given the Army’s current capabilities 
and future needs, and should be 

• Improve the combat readiness of 
current units by increasing personnel 
strength and revitalizing combat 

• Make efforts to improve the quality of 
soldier life to sustain the current 
“middle class,” professional Army. 

• Be repositioned and reconfigured in 
light of current strategic realities: 
elements of U.S. Army Europe should 
be redeployed to Southeast Europe, 
while a permanent unit should be 
based in the Persian Gulf region; 
simultaneously, forward-deployed 
Army units should be reconfigured to 
be better capable of independent 
operations that include ongoing 
constabulary missions as well as the 
initial phases of combat. 

• Reduce the strength of the Army 
National Guard and Army Reserve, 
yet recognize that these components 
are meant to provide a hedge against 
a genuine, large-scale, unanticipated 
military emergency; the continuing 
reliance on large numbers of 
reservists for constabulary missions is 
inappropriate and short-sighted. 

• Have its budget increased from the 
current level of $70 billion annually to 
$90 to $95 billion per year. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

The Current State of the Army 

Measuring by its ability to perform any 
of the missions outlined above - overseas 
presence, fighting major theater wars, 
transforming for the future - the Army today 
is ill prepared. The most immediate 
problem is the decline in current readiness. 
Until the spring of 1998, the Army had 
managed to contain the worst effects of 
frequent deployments, keeping its so-called 
“first-to-fight” units ready to react to a crisis 
that threatened to become a major theater 
war. But now, as recently retired Army 
Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer 
explained to Congress: 

[CJommanders Army-wide report that 
they are reducing the frequency, scope, 
and duration of their exercises.... 

Additionally, commanders 
are not always able to 
make training as realistic 
and demanding as they 
would like. In some cases, 
commands are not able to 
afford the optimum mix of 
simulations to live-fire 
Reimer training events, resulting 

in less-experienced staffs. 
Several commands report that they are 
unable to afford the participation of their 
aviation units in Combat Training Center 
rotations. Overall, affordable training 
compromises are lowering the training 
proficiency bar and resulting in 
inexperience....Already, readiness at the 
battalion level is starting to decline - a 
fact that is not going unnoticed at our 
Combat Training Centers. 

In recent years, both the quality and 
quantity of such training has diminished. 
Typically, in prior years, a rotational unit 
might have eight battalion-level field 
training “battles” prior to its Fort Irwin 
rotation, and another eight while at the 
training center. Today, heavy forces almost 
never conduct full battalion field exercises, 
and now are lucky to get more than six at the 
National Training Center. 

Like the other services, the Army 
continues to be plagued by low levels of 

manning in critical combat and maintenance 
specialties. Army leaders frankly admit that 
they have too few soldiers to man their 
current force structure, and shortages of 
NCOs and officers are increasingly com¬ 
mon. For example, in Fiscal Year 1997, the 
Army had only 67 percent to 88 percent of 
its needs in the four maintenance specialties 
for its tanks and mechanized infantry 
vehicles. In the officer ranks, there are 
significant shortfalls in the captain and 
major grades. The result of these shortages 
in the field is that junior officers and NCOs 
are being asked to assume the duties of the 
next higher grade; the “ultimate effect,” 
reported Gen. Reimer, “is a reduction in 
experience, particularly at the... ‘tip of the 

The Army’s ability to meet its major- 
war requirements, particularly on the 
timetables demanded by the war plans of the 
theater commanders-in-chief, is uncertain at 
best. Although on paper the Army can meet 
these requirements, the true state of affairs is 
more complex. The major-theater-war 
review conducted for the QDR assumed that 
each unit would arrive on the battlefield 
fully trained and ready, but manpower and 
training shortages across the Army make 
that a doubtful proposition, at least without 
delays in deployment. Even could the 
immediate manpower shortages be reme¬ 
died, any attempt to improve training - as 
was done even in the run-up to Operation 
Desert Storm - would prove to be a signi¬ 
ficant bottleneck. The Army’s maneuver 
training centers are not able to increase 
capacity sufficiently or rapidly enough. 
Under the current two-war metric, high- 
intensity combat is envisioned as a “come- 
as-you-are” affair, and the Army today is 
significantly less well prepared for such 
wars than it was in 1990. 

Army Forces Based 
In the United States 

The primary missions of Army units 
based in the United States are to rapidly 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

reinforce forward-deployed units in times of 
crisis or combat and to provide units capable 
of reacting to unanticipated contingencies. 

In addition, the service must continue to 
raise, train and equip all Army forces, 
including those of the Army National Guard 
and Army Reserve. While the reforming the 
posture of its forces abroad is perhaps the 
largest task facing the Army for the 
immediate future, it is inevitably intertwined 
with the need to rebuild and reconfigure the 
Army at home. 

The need to respond with decisive force 
in the event of a major theater war in 
Europe, the Persian Gulf or East Asia will 
remain the principal factor in determining 
Army force structure for U.S.-based units. 
However one judges the likelihood of such 
wars occurring, it is essential to retain 
sufficient capabilities to bring them to a 
satisfactory conclusion, including the 
possibility of a decisive victory that results 
in long-term political or regime change. The 
current stateside active Army force structure 
- 23 maneuver brigades - is barely adequate 
to meet the potential demands. Not only are 
these units few in number, but their combat 
readiness has been allowed to slip danger¬ 
ously over recent years. Manning levels 
have dropped and training opportunities 
have been diminished and degraded. These 
units need to be returned to high states of 
readiness and, most importantly, must regain 
their focus on their combat missions. 

The Army needs to restore units 
based in the United States - those 
needed in the event of a major 
theater war - to high states of 

more deployable, and the Army must 
continue to introduce similar modifications. 
Moreover, Army training should continue its 
emphasis on combined-arms, task-force 
combat operations. In the continental 
United States, Army force structure should 
consist of three fully-manned, three-brigade 
heavy divisions; two light divisions; and two 
airborne divisions. In addition, the stateside 
Army should retain four armored cavalry 
regiments in its active structure, plus several 
experimental units devoted to transformation 
activities. This would total approximately 
27 ground maneuver brigade-equivalents. 

Because the divisional structure still 
remains an economical and effective 
organization in large-scale operations as 
well as an efficient administrative structure, 
the division should remain the basic unit for 
most stateside Army forces, even while the 
service creates new, smaller independent 
organizations for operations abroad. The 
Army is currently undergoing a redesign of 
the basic divisional structure, reducing the 
size of the basic maneuver battalion in 
response to the improvements that advanced 
technologies and the untapped capabilities 
of current systems permit. This is a modest 
but important step that will make these units 

Yet such a force, though capable of 
delivering and sustaining significant combat 
power for initial missions, will remain 
inadequate to the full range of strategic tasks 
facing the Army. Thus, the service must 
increasingly rely on Guard units to execute a 
portion of its potential warfighting missions, 
not seek to foist overseas presence missions 
off on what should remain part-time 
soldiers. To allow the Army National Guard 
to play its essential role in fighting large- 
scale wars, the Army must take a number of 
steps to ensure the readiness of Guard units. 
The first is to better link the Guard to the 
active-duty force, providing adequate 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

resources to increase the combat effective¬ 
ness of large Guard units, perhaps to include 
the partial manning of the first-to-deploy 
Guard brigades with an active command 
cadre. Secondly, the Guard’s overall 
structure must be adjusted and the overall 
number of Army National Guard units - and 
especially Guard infantry divisions - 
reduced. This would not only eliminate 
unnecessary formations but would permit 
improved manning of the first-to-fight 
Guard units, which need to be manned at 
levels significantly above 100 percent 
personnel strength to allow for timely 
deployment during crises and war. 

In addition, the Army needs to 
rationalize the missions of the Army 
Reserve. Without the efforts of Reservists 
over the past decade, the Army’s ability to 
conduct the large number of contingency 
operations it has faced would be severely 
compromised. Yet the effort to rationalize 
deployments, as discussed in the previous 
section, would also result in a reduction of 
demand for Army Reservists, particularly 
those with highly specialized skills. Once 
the missions in the Balkans, for example, are 
admitted to be long-term deployments, the 
role of Army Reserve forces should be 
diminished and the active Army should 
assume all but a very small share of the 

In sum, the missions of the Army’s two 
reserve components must be adjusted to 
post-Cold-War realities as must the missions 
of the active component. The importance of 
these citizen-soldiers in linking an increas¬ 
ingly professional force to the mainstream of 
American society has never been greater, 
and the failure to make the necessary adjust¬ 
ments to their mission has jeopardized those 
links. The Army National Guard should 
retain its traditional role as a hedge against 
the need for a larger-than-anticipated force 
in combat; indeed, it may play a larger role 
in U.S. war-planning than heretofore. It 
should not be used primarily to provide 
combat service support to active Army units 
engaged in current operations. A return to 

its traditional role would allow for a further 
modest strength reduction in the Army 
National Guard. Such a move would also 
lessen the strain of repeated deployments in 
contingency operations, which is 
jeopardizing the model of the part-time 
soldier upon which Guard is premised. 
Similarly, the Army Reserve should retain 

its traditional role 
as a federal force, 
a supplement to 
the active force, 
but demands for 
augmentees for 
reduced through 
improvements to 
active Army 
operations and 
organizations, and 
even added 
strength. In the 
event that 

American forces become embroiled in two 
large-scale wars at once, or nearly at once, 
Army reserve components may provide the 
edge for decisive operations. Such a 
capability is a cornerstone of U.S. military 
strategy, not to be frittered away in ongoing 
contingency operations. 

A second mission for Army units based 
in the United States is to respond to 
unanticipated contingencies. With more 
forward-based units deployed along an 
expanded American security perimeter 
around the globe, these unforeseen crises 
should be less debilitating. Units like the 
82 nd and 101 st Airborne divisions and the 
Army’s two light infantry divisions, as well 
as the small elements of the 3 ld Mechanized 
Infantry Division, that are kept on high alert, 
will continue to provide these needed 
capabilities. So will Army special 
operations units such as the 75 th Ranger 
Regiment. Moreover, the creation of 
middle-weight, independent units will begin 

Returning the 
National Guard 
to its traditional 
role would 
allow for a 
reduction in 
strength while 
lessening the 
strain of 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the process of transforming the Army for 
future contingency needs. As the 
transformation process matures, a wider 
variety of Army units will be suitable for 
unanticipated contingency operations. 

Forward-based Forces 

American military presence abroad 
draws heavily on ground forces and the 
Army, which is the service best suited to 
these long-term missions. In the post-Cold- 
War environment, these forward-based 
forces are, in essence, conducting 
reconnaissance and security missions. The 
units involved are required to maintain 
peace and stability in the regions they patrol, 
provide early warning of imminent crises, 
and to shape the early stages of any conflict 
that might occur while additional forces are 
deployed from the United States or 
elsewhere. By virtue of this mission, these 
units should be self-contained, combined- 
arms units with a wide variety of 
capabilities, able to operate over long 
distances, with sophisticated means of 
communication and access to high levels of 
U.S. intelligence. Currently, most forward- 
based Army units do not meet this 

Such requirements suggest that such 
units should be approximately brigade or 
regimental-sized formations, perhaps 5,000 
strong. They will need sufficient personnel 
strength to be able to conduct sustained 
traditional infantry missions, but with the 
mobility to operate over extended areas. 
They must have enough direct firepower to 
dominate their immediate tactical situation, 
and suitable fire support to prevent such 
relatively small and independent units from 
being overrun. However, the need for fire 
support need not entail large amounts of 
integral artillery or other forms of sup¬ 
porting firepower. While some artillery 
will prove necessary, a substantial part of 
the fire support should come from Army 
attack aviation and deeper fixed-wing 
interdiction. The combination of over¬ 

whelming superiority in direct-fire 
engagements, typified by the performance of 
the Bradley fighting vehicle and Ml Abrams 
tank in the Gulf War (and indeed, in the 
performance of the Marines’ Light Armored 
Vehicle), as well as the improved accuracy 
and lethality of artillery fires, plus the 
capabilities of U.S. strike aircraft, will 
provide such units with a very substantial 
combat capability. 

These forward-based, independent units 
will be increasingly built around the 
acquisition and management of information. 
This will be essential for combat operations 
- precise, long-range fires require accurate 
and timely intelligence and robust 
communications links - but also for stability 
operations. Units stationed in the Balkans, 
or Turkey, or in Southeast Asia, will require 
the ability to understand and operate in 
unique political-military environments, and 
the seemingly tactical decisions made by 
soldiers on the ground may have strategic 
consequences. While some of these needs 
can be fulfilled by civilians, both Americans 
and local nationals, units stationed on the 
American security frontier must have the 
capabilities, cohesion and personnel 
continuity their mission demands. Chief 
among them is an awareness of the security 
and political environment in which they are 
operating. Especially those forces stationed 
in volatile regions must have their own 
human intelligence collection capacity, 
perhaps through an attached special forces 
unit if not solely through an organic 
intelligence unit. 

The technologies required to field such 
forces already exist and many are already in 
production or in the Army inventory. New 
force designs and the application of 
information technologies can give new 
utility to existing weaponry. However, the 
problem of mobility and weight becomes an 
even more pressing problem should ground 
forces be positioned in Southeast Asia. 

Even forward-based forces would need to be 
rapidly deployed over very long distances in 
times of crisis, both through fast sealift and 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

airlift; in short, every pound and every cubic 
foot must count. In designing such forces, 
the Army should consider more innovative 
approaches. One short-term approach could 
be to build such a unit around the V-22 
Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft now being built for 
the Marine Corps and for special operations 
forces. A second interim approach would be 
to expand the capabilities of current air¬ 
mobile infantry, by adding refueling probes 
to existing helicopters, as on special 
operations aircraft. Another approach could 
involve the construction of truly fast sealift 

In sum, it should be clear that these 
independent, forward-based Army units can 
become “change-agents” within the service, 
opening opportunities for transformational 
concepts, even as they perform vital stability 
operations in their regions. In addition, such 
units would need to train for combat 
operations on a regular basis, and will 
require new training centers as well as new 
garrisons in more relevant strategic 
locations. They will operate in a more 
dispersed manner reflecting new concepts of 
combat operations as well as the demands of 
current stability operations. In urban areas 
or in the jungles of Southeast Asia, they will 
operate in complex terrain that may more 
accurately predict future warfare. Certainly, 
new medium-weight or air-mobile units will 
provide a strong incentive to begin to 
transform the Army more fundamentally for 
the future. Not only would increased 
mobility and information capabilities allow 
for new ways of conducting operations, the 
lack of heavy armor would mandate new 
tactics, doctrines and organizations. Even 
among those units equipped with the current 
Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle, 
the requirement for independent operations, 
closer ties to other services’ forces and 
introduction of new intelligence and 
communications capabilities would result in 
innovation. Most profoundly, such new 
units and concepts would give the process of 
transformation a purpose within the Army; 
soldiers would be a part of the process and 

take its lessons to heart, breaking down 
bureaucratic resistance to change. 

In addition to these newer force designs 
for Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere in East 
Asia, the Army should retain a force 
approximating that currently based in Korea. 
In addition to headquarters units there, the 
U.S. ground force presence is built around 
the two brigades of the 2 nd Infantry Division. 
This unit is already a hybrid, neither a 
textbook heavy division nor a light division. 
While retaining the divisional structure to 
allow for the smooth introduction of follow- 

on forces in times 
of crisis, the Army 
also should begin 
to redesign this unit 
to allow for longer- 
range operations. 
Because of the 
massive amount of 
North Korean 
artillery, counter¬ 
battery artillery 
fires will play an 
important role in 
any war on the 
suggesting that improving the rocket 
artillery capabilities of the U.S. division is a 
modest but wise investment. Likewise, 
increasing the aviation and attack helicopter 
assets of U.S. ground forces in Korea would 
give commanders options they do not now 
have. The main heavy forces of the South 
Korean army are well trained and equipped, 
but optimized for defending Seoul and the 
Republic of Korea as far north as possible. 

In time, the 2 nd Infantry Division’s two 
brigades might closely resemble the kind of 
independent, combined-arms forces needed 

Army Modernization and Budgets 

Since the end of the Cold War, the 
Army has suffered dramatic budget 
cutbacks, particularly in weapons procure¬ 
ment and research, that have resulted in the 

landpower is 
the essential 
link in the 
chain that 
translates U.S. 
supremacy into 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

degradation of current readiness described 
above and have restricted the service’s 
ability to modernize and innovate for the 
future. The Army’s current attempts at 
transformation have been hobbled by the 
need to find “bill-payers” within the Army 

In Fiscal Year 1992, the first post-Cold- 
War and post-Gulf War Army budget was 
$91 billion measured in constant 2000 
dollars. This year, the Congress has 
approved $69.5 billion for Army operations 
- including several billion to pay for 
operations in the Balkans - and President 
Clinton’s request for 2001 is $70.6 billion, 
more than $2 billion of which will be 
allocated to Balkans operations. Likewise, 
Army procurement spending is way down. 
Through the Clinton years, service procure¬ 
ment has averaged around $8 billion, 
dipping to a low of $7.1 billion in 1995; the 
2000 request was for $9.7 billion, by far the 
largest Army procurement request since the 
Gulf War. By contrast, Army weapons 
purchases averaged about $23 billion per 
year during the early and mid-1980s, when 
the current generation of major combat 
systems - the M1 tank, Bradley fighting 
vehicle, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters 
and Patriot missile system - entered 

To field an Army capable of meeting the 
new missions and challenges discussed 
above, service budgets must return to the 
level of approximately $90 to $95 billion in 
constant 2000 dollars. Some of this increase 
would help the Army fill out both its under¬ 
manned units and refurbish the institutional 
Army, as well as increasing the readiness of 
Army National Guard units. New acqui¬ 
sition programs would include light armored 
vehicles, “digitized” command and control 
networks and other situational awareness 
systems, the Comanche helicopter, and 
unmanned aerial vehicles. Renewed invest¬ 
ments in Army infrastructure would improve 
the quality of soldier life. The process of 
transformation would be reinvigorated. 

But, as the discussion of Army 
requirements above indicates, Army 
investments must be redirected as well as 
increased. For example, the Crusader 
artillery program, while perhaps the most 
advanced self-propelled howitzer ever 
produced, is difficult to justify under 
conditions of revolutionary change. The 
costs of the howitzer, not merely in 
budgetary terms but in terms of the 
opportunity cost of a continuing 
commitment to an increasingly outmoded 
paradigm of warfare, far outweigh the 
benefits; the Crusader should be terminated. 

In addition to terminating the 
Crusader artillery program, the Army’s 
annual budget must increase to the 
$90 to $95 billion level to finance 
current missions and the Army’s long¬ 
term transformation. 

However, addressing the Army’s many 
challenges will require significantly 
increased funding. Though the active-duty 
force is 40 percent smaller than its total at 
the end of the Cold War, several generations 
of Army leadership have chosen to retain 
troop strength, paid for by cuts in 
procurement and research. This cannot 
continue. While the Army may be too small 
for the variety of missions discussed above, 
its larger need is for reinvestment, 
recapitalization and, especially, 
transformation. Taken together, these needs 
far exceed the savings to be garnered by any 
possible internal reforms or efficiencies. 
Terminating marginal programs like the 
Crusader howitzer, trimming administrative 
overhead, base closings and the like will not 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

free up resources enough to finance the 
radical overhaul the Army needs. 

American landpower remains the 
essential link in the chain that translates U.S. 
military supremacy into American 
geopolitical preeminence. Even as the means 
for delivering firepower on the battlefield 
shift - strike aircraft have realized all but the 
wildest dreams of air power enthusiasts, 
unmanned aerial vehicles promise to extend 
strike power in the near future, and the 
ability to conduct strikes from space appears 
on the not-too-distant horizon - the need for 
ground maneuvers to achieve decisive 
political results endures. Regimes are 
difficult to change based upon punishment 
alone. If land forces are to survive and 
retain their unique strategic purpose in a 
world where it is increasingly easy to deliver 
firepower precisely at long ranges, they 
must change as well, becoming more 
stealthy, mobile, deployable and able to 
operate in a dispersed fashion. The U.S. 
Army, and American land forces more 
generally, must increasingly complement the 
strike capabilities of the other services. 
Conversely, an American military force that 
lacks the ability to employ ground forces 
that can survive and maneuver rapidly on 
future battlefields will deprive U.S. political 
leaders of a decisive tool of diplomacy. 

Air Force: Toward a Global 
First-Strike Force 

The past decade has been the best of 
times and worst of times for the U.S. Air 
Force. From the Gulf War to Operation 
Allied Force over Kosovo, the increasing 
sophistication of American air power - with 
its stealth aircraft; precision-guided 
munitions; all-weather and all-hours 
capabilities; and the professionalism of 
pilots, planners and support crews - has 

allowed the Air Force to boast legitimately 
of its “global reach, global power.” On 
short notice, Air Force aircraft can attack 
virtually any target on earth with great 

accuracy and virtual impunity. American air 
power has become a metaphor for as well as 
the literal manifestation of American 
military preeminence. 

Specialized Air Force aircraft, like the 
JSTARS above, are too few in number 
to meet current mission demands. 

Simultaneously, the Air Force has been 
reduced by a third or more, and its 
operations have been increasingly diffused. 
In addition, the Air Force has taken on so 
many new missions that its fundamental 
structure has been changed. During the 
Cold War, the Air Force was geared to fight 
a large-scale air battle to clear the skies of 
Soviet aircraft; today’s Air Force is 
increasingly shaped to continue monotonous 
no-fly-zone operations, conduct periodic 
punitive strikes, or to execute measured, 
low-risk, no-fault air campaigns like Allied 
Force. The service’s new “Air 
Expeditionary Force” concept turns the 
classic, big-war “air campaign” model 
largely on its head. 

Fike the Army, the Air Force continues 
to operate Cold-War era systems in this new 
strategic and operational environment. The 
Air Force’s frontline fighter aircraft, the F- 
15 and F-16, were built to out-perform more 
numerous Soviet fighters; U.S. support 
aircraft, from AW ACS and JSTARS 
command-and-control planes to electronic 
jamming aircraft to tankers, were meant to 
work in tandem with large numbers of 
American fighters. The U.S. bomber fleet’s 
primary mission was nuclear deterrence. 

The Air Force also has begun to 
purchase new generations of manned 
combat aircraft that were designed during 
the late Cold War; the F-22 and, especially, 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the Joint Strike Fighter, are a response to 
requirements established long ago. 
Conversely, the decision to terminate the B- 
2 bomber program was taken before its 
effectiveness as a long-range, precision, 
conventional-strike platform was 
established; in the wake of Operation Allied 
Force, regional commanders-in-chief have 
begun to reevaluate how such a capability 
might serve their uses. Further, the Air 
Force should reevaluate the need for greater 
numbers of long-range systems. In some 
regions, the ability to operate from tactical 
airfields is increasingly problematic and in 
others - notably East Asia - the theater is 
simply so vast that even “tactical,” in-theater 
operations will require long-range 

In sum, the Air Force has begun to adapt 
itself to the new requirements of the time, 
yet is far from completing the needed 
changes to its posture, structure, or 
programs. Moreover, the Air Force is too 
small - especially its fleet of support aircraft 
- and poorly positioned to conduct sustained 
operations for maintaining American 
military preeminence. Air Force procure¬ 
ment funds have been reduced, and service 
leaders have cut back on purchases of spare 
parts, support aircraft, and even replace¬ 
ments for current fighters in an attempt to 
keep the F-22 program on track. Although 
air power remains the most flexible and 
responsive element of U.S. military power, 
the Air Force needs to be restructured, 
repositioned, revitalized and enlarged to 
assure continued “global reach, global 
power.” In particular, the Air Force should: 

• Be redeployed to reflect the shifts in 
international politics. Independent, 
expeditionary air wings containing a 
broad mix of aircraft, including 
electronic warfare, airborne 
command and control, and other 
support aircraft, should be based in 
Italy, Southeastern Europe, central 
and perhaps eastern Turkey, the 
Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia. 

• Realign the remaining Air Force units 
in Europe, Asia and the United States 
to optimize their capabilities to 
conduct multiple large-scale air 

• Make selected investments in current 
generations of combat and support 
aircraft to sustain the F-15 and F-16 
fleets for longer service life, purchase 
additional sets of avionics for special- 
mission fighters, increase planned 
fleets of AWACS, JSTARS and other 
electronic support planes, and expand 
stocks of precision-guided munitions. 

• Develop plans to increase electronic 
warfare support fleets, such as by 
creating “Wild Weasel” and jammer 
aircraft based upon the F-15E 

• Restore the condition of the 
institutional Air Force, expanding its 
personnel strength, rebuilding its 
corps of pilots and experienced 
maintenance NCOs, expanding 
support specialties such as intelligence 
and special police and reinvigorating 
its training establishment. 

• Overall Air Force active personnel 
strength should be gradually 
increased by approximately 30,000 to 
40,000, and the service should rebuild 
a structure of 18 to 19 active and 8 
reserve wing equivalents. 

The State of the Air Force 

Also like the Army, in recent years the 
Air Force has undertaken missions 
fundamentally different than those assigned 
during the Cold War. The years since the 
fall of the Berlin Wall have been anything 
but predictable. In 1997, the Air Force had 
four times more forces deployed than in 
1989, the last year of the Cold War, but one 
third fewer personnel on active duty. 
Modernization has slowed to a crawl. Under 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

such circumstances, the choices made to 
build a warfighting force can become 
liabilities. As Thomas Moorman, vice chief 
of staff of the Air Force from 1994 through 
1997, has stated: 

None of us believed, at the end of the 
Cold War, that we would be doing 
Northern Watch and Southern Watch in 
1998. Bosnia still exists - everyone [in 
the Air Force has] been there since 
1995....Couple that with the fact that 
we've seen surges, particularly in Iraq. 
Saddam Hussein has been very effective 
in pulling our chain, and we've had 
three major deployments, the last of 
which was very significant; it was 4,000 
people and 100 aircraft. And we stayed 
over there a lot longer than we thought 
we would. 

As a result, Air Force “readiness is 
slipping - it’s not just anecdotal; it’s 
factual,” says Gen. Michael Ryan, the Air 
Force Chief of Staff. Since 1996, according 
to Ryan, the Air Force has experienced “an 
overall 14 percent degradation in the opera¬ 
tional readiness of our major operational 
units.” And although Air Force leaders 
claim that the service holds all its units at 
the same levels of readiness - that it does 
not, as the Navy does, practice “tiered” 
readiness where first-to-fight units get more 
resources - the level of readiness in stateside 
units has slipped below those deployed 
overseas. For example, Air Combat 
Command, the main tactical fighter 
command based in the United States, has 
suffered a 50 percent drop in readiness rates, 
compared to the service-wide drop in 
operational readiness of 14 percent. 

These readiness problems are the result 
of a pace of operations that is slowly but 
surely consuming the Air Force. A 1998 
study by RAND, “Air Force Operations 
Overseas in Peacetime: OPTEMPO and 
Force Structure Implications,” concluded 
that today’s Air Force is barely large enough 
to sustain current no-fly-zone and similar 
constabulary contingencies, let alone handle 
a major war. While the Department of 

Defense has come to recognize the heavy 
burden placed upon the Air Force’s 
AWACS and other specialized aircraft, the 
study found that “specialized aircraft are 
experiencing a rate of utilization well 
beyond the level that the current force 
structure would seem able to support on a 
long-term basis.” The study also revealed 
that the current fighter force is stretched to 
its limit as well. Under current assumptions, 
the current fighter structure “has the 
capacity to meet the [peacekeeping] 
demand, but with a meager reserve - only 
about a third of a squadron (8 aircraft) 
beyond the demand.” An additional no-fly- 
zone mission, such as is now being 
conducted over the Balkans, for example, 
“would be difficult to meet on a sustained 
basis.” According to Ryan, the 
accumulation of these constabulary missions 
has had a dramatic effect on the Air Force. 
He recently summarized the situation for 

Our men and women 
are separated from 
their home bases 
and families for 
unpredictable and 
extended periods 
every year — with a 
significant negative 
impact on retention. 

Jfyail Our home-station 

manning has become 
inadequate — and workload has 
increased — because forces are 
frequently deployed even though home- 
station operations must continue at 
near-normal pace. Our units deploying 
forward must carry much more 
infrastructure to expeditionary bases. 

Force protection and critical mission 
security for forward-deployed forces is 
a major consideration. The demands on 
our smaller units, such as [intelligence, 
surveillance and reconnaissance] and 
combat search and rescue units, have 
dramatically increased — they are 
properly sized for two major theater 
wars, but some are inadequately sized 
for multiple, extended contingency 
operations. Due to the unpredictable 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

nature of contingencies, training 
requirements have been expanded, and 
training cannot always be fully 
accomplished while deployed 
supporting contingencies. Because 
contingencies are unpredictable, it is 
much more difficult to use Reserve 
Component forces, many of whom need 
time to coordinate absences with 
civilian employers before they are free 
to take up their Air Force jobs. 

These cumulative stresses have created a 
panoply of problems for the Air Force: 
recruiting and retention of key personnel, 
especially pilots, is an unprecedented worry; 
the service’s fleet of aircraft, especially 
support aircraft, is aging significantly; spare 
parts shortages, along with shortages of 
electronic subsystems and advanced 
munitions, restricts both operational and 
training missions; and the quality and 
quantity of air combat training has declined. 

Even as routine, home-station combat 
Paining has suffered in recent years, so have 
the Air Force’s major air combat exercises. 
Lack of funds for training, reports Ryan, 
means that “aircrews will no longer be able 
to meet many training requirements and 
threat training will be reduced to unrealistic 
level. Aircrews will develop a false sense of 
security while training against unrealistic 
threats.” Similarly, the Air Force’s program 
to provide advanced “aggressor” training to 
its pilots is a shadow of its former self: 
during the 1980s there was one aggressor 
aircraft for every 35 Air Force fighters; 
today, the ratio is one for every 240 fighters. 
The frequency with which Air Force 
aircrews participate in “Red Flag” exercises 
has declined from once every 12 months to 
once every 18 months. 

The Air Force’s problems are further 
compounded by the procurement holiday of 
the 1990s. The dramatic aging of the Air 
Force fleet and the resulting increase in cost 
and maintenance workload caused by air¬ 
craft fatigue, corrosion and parts obsoles¬ 
cence is the second driving factor in de¬ 
creasing service readiness. By the turn of 

the century, the average Air Force aircraft 
will be 20 years old and by 2015, even 
allowing for the introduction of the F-22 and 
Joint Strike Fighter and continuing 
purchases of current aircraft such as the C- 
17, the average age of the fleet will be 30 
years old. The increased expense of 
operating older aircraft is well illustrated by 
the difference in airframe depot maintenance 
cost between the oldest F-15A and B models 
- at approximately 21 years old, such repairs 
average about $1.9 million per aircraft - 

versus the newest 
F-15E model - at 
8 years in average 
age, the same 
kinds of repairs 
cost about $1.3 
million per plane, 
a 37 percent cost 
difference. But 
perhaps the 
costliest measure 
of an aging fleet 
is that fewer 
airplanes are 
ready for combat. 
Overall Air Force “non-mission capable 
rates,” or grounded aircraft, have increased 
from 17 percent in 1991 to 25 percent today. 
These rates continue to climb despite the 
fact that Air Force maintenance personnel 
are working harder and longer to put planes 
up. The process of parts cannibalization - 
transferring a part from one plane being 
repaired to keep another flying - has 
increased by 58 percent from 1995 to 1998. 

Some of the Air Force’s readiness 
problems stem from the overall reduction in 
its procurement budget, combined with the 
service’s determination to keep the F-22 
program on track - as much as possible. 

The expense of the “Raptor” has forced the 
Air Force to make repeated cuts in other 
programs, not only in other aircraft 
programs, but in spare parts and even in 
personnel programs; even the Air Force’s 
pilot shortage stems in part from decisions 
taken to free up funds for the F-22. These 
effects have been doubly compounded by 

Air Combat 
Command, the 
main tactical 

command based 
in the United 
States, has 
suffered a 50 
percent drop in 
readiness rates. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the changes in the pattern of Air Force 
operations over the past 10 years. Support 
aircraft such as the AW ACS and JSTARS, 
electronic combat and tanker aircraft were 
all intended to operate in concert with large 
numbers of tactical aircraft in large-scale 
operations. But in fact, they are more often 
called upon now to operate with just a 
handful of fighter or strike aircraft in no-fly 
zone operations or other contin-gencies. As 
a result, these types of aircraft routinely are 
rated as “low-density, high-demand” 
systems in the Pentagon’s joint-service 
readiness assessments; in other words, there 
are too few of them to meet mission require¬ 
ments. The Air Force’s modernization 
program has yet to fully reflect this pheno¬ 
menon. For example, the formal JSTARS 
“requirement” was reduced from 19 to 13 
aircraft; only lately has an increased re¬ 
quirement been recognized. Likewise, the 
original C-17 procurement was cut from 210 
to 120 aircraft. In fact, to meet emerging 
requirements, it is likely that 210C-17s may 
be too few. Overall, the Air Force’s 
modernization programs need a thorough¬ 
going reassessment in light of new missions 
and their requirements. 

Forward-Based Forces 

The pattern of Air Force bases also 
needs to be reconsidered. Currently, the Air 
Force maintains forward-based forces of 
two-and-one-half wing equivalents in 
Western Europe; one wing in the Pacific, in 
Japan; a semi-permanent, composite wing of 
about 100 aircraft scattered throughout the 
Gulf region; and a partial wing in central 
Turkey at Incirlik Air Force Base. Even 
allowing for the inherent flexibility and 
range of aircraft, these current forces need to 
be supplemented by additional forward- 
based forces, additional permanent bases, 
and a network of contingency bases that 
would permit the Air Force to extend the 
effectiveness of current and future aircraft 
fleets as the American security perimeter 

In Europe, current forces should be 
increased with additional support aircraft, 
ranging from an increased C-17 and tanker 
fleet to AWACS, JSTARS and other 
electronic support planes. Existing forces, 
still organized in traditional wings, should 
be supplemented by a composite wing 
permanently stationed at Incirlik Air Force 
Base in Turkey and that base should be 
improved significantly. The air wing at 
Aviano, Italy might be given a greater 
capability as that facility expands, as well. 
Additionally, the Air Force should establish 
the requirements for similar small composite 
wings in Southeastern Europe. Over time, 
U.S. Air Forces in Europe would increase by 
one to two-and-one-half wing equivalents. 
Further, improvements should be made to 
existing air bases in new and potential 
NATO countries to allow for rapid 
deployments, contingency exercises, and 
extended initial operations in times of crisis. 
These preparations should include 
modernized air traffic control, fuel, and 
weapons storage facilities, and perhaps 
small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as 
well as sufficient ramp space to accom¬ 
modate surges in operations. Improvements 
also should be made to existing facilities in 
England to allow forward operation of B-2 
bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie 
rates if needed. 

In the Persian Gulf region, the 
provisional 4044 th Wing should continue to 
operate much as it has for the better part of 
the last decade. However, the Air Force 
should take several steps to improve its 
operations while deferring to local political 
sensibilities. To relieve the stress of 
constant rotations, the Air Force might 
consider using more U.S. civilian contract 
workers in support roles - perhaps even to 
do aircraft maintenance or to provide 
additional security. While this might 
increase the cost of these operations, it 
might also be an incentive to get the Saudis, 
Kuwaitis and other Gulf states to assume a 
greater share of the costs while preserving 
the lowest possible U.S. military profile. By 
the same token, further improvements in the 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

facilities at A1 Kharj in Saudi Arabia, 
especially those that would improve the 
quality of life for airmen and allow 
increased combat training, warrant 
additional American as well as Saudi 
investments. The Air Force presence in the 
Gulf region is a vital one for U.S. military 
strategy, and the United States should 
consider it a de facto permanent presence, 
even as it seeks ways to lessen Saudi, 
Kuwaiti and regional concerns about U.S. 

The overall effectiveness of the B-2 
bomber is limited by the small size of 
the fleet and the difficulties of 
operating solely from Whiteman Air 
Force Base in Missouri. 

But it is in East Asia that the Air Force 
must look to increase its capabilities and 
reach. The service currently has about two 
wings worth of aircraft stationed at three 
bases in Japan and Korea; like the Army, the 
Air Force is concentrated in Northeast Asia 
and lacks a permanent presence in Southeast 
Asia, thus limiting its regional reach. The 
Air Force also has an F-15 wing in Alaska 
that is officially part of its Pacific force, as 
well. The Air Force needs roughly to 
double its forces stationed in East Asia, 
preferably dispersing its bases in the south 
as it has in the north, perhaps by stationing a 
wing in the Philippines and Australia. As in 
Europe, Air Force operations in East Asia 
would be greatly enhanced by the ability to 
sustain long-range bomber operations out of 
Australia, perhaps also by including the 
special maintenance facilities needed to 
operate the B-2 and other stealth aircraft. 
Further, the Air Force would be wise to 

invest in upgrades to regional airfields to 
permit surge deployments and, incidentally, 
help build ties with regional air forces. 

Air Force Units Based 
In the United States 

Even as the Air Force accelerates 
operations and improves its reach in the key 
regions of the world, it must retain sufficient 
forces based in the United States to deploy 
rapidly in times of crisis and be prepared to 
conduct large-scale air campaigns of the sort 
needed in major theater wars and to react to 
truly unforeseen contingencies. Indeed, the 
mobility and flexibility of air power 
virtually extinguishes the distinction 
between reinforcing and contingency forces. 
But it is clear that the Air Force’s current 
stateside strength of approximately eight to 
nine fighter-wing equivalents and four 
bomber wings is inadequate to these tasks. 
Further, the Air Force’s fleets of support 
aircraft are too small for rapid, large-scale 
deployments and sustained operations. 

The Air Force’s structure problems 
reflect troubles of types of aircraft as well as 
raw numbers. For example, when the 
service retired its complements of F-4 “Wild 
Weasel” air defense suppression and EF-111 
electronic warfare aircraft, these missions 
were assumed by F-16s fitted with HARM 
system pods and Navy and Marine EA-6B 
“Prowlers,” respectively. The effect has 
been to reduce the size of the F-16 fleet 
capable of doing other missions. The F-16 
was intended to be a multi-mission airplane, 
but the heavy requirement for air defense 
suppression, even in no-fly-zone operations, 
means that these aircraft are only rarely 
available for other duties, and their pilots’ 
skills rusty. Likewise, the loss of the EF- 
111 has thrust the entire jamming mission 
on the small and old Prowler fleet, and has 
left the Air Force without a jammer of its 
own. The shortage of these aircraft is so 
great that, during Operation Allied Force, 
no-fly-zone operations over Iraq were 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

The Air Force’s airlift fleet is similarly 
too small. The lift requirements established 
in the early 1990s did not anticipate the pace 
and number of contingency operations in the 
post-Cold-War world. Nor have the require¬ 
ments been changed to reflect force design 
changes - both those already made, such as 
de facto expeditionary forces in the Army 
and Air Force, nor those advocated in this 
report. The need to operate in a more dis¬ 
persed fashion will increase airlift require¬ 
ments substantially. 

Further, the Air Force’s need for other 
supporting aircraft is also greater than its 
current fleet. As Air Force Chief of Staff 
Gen. Ryan has observed, his service is far 
short of being a “two-war” force in many of 
these capabilities. Even in daily no-fly-zone 
operations with relatively small numbers of 
fighters, the nature of the mission demands 
AWACS, JSTARS and other long-range 
electronic support aircraft; EA-6Bs and F- 
16s with HARM pods for jamming and air 
defense suppression; and several tankers to 
permit extended operations over long 
ranges. The “supporter-to-shooter” ratios of 
the Cold War and of large-scale operations 
such as the Desert Storm air campaign have 
been completely inverted. Air Force 
requirements of such aircraft for perimeter 
patrolling missions and for reinforcing 
missions far exceed the service’s current 
fleets; no previous strategic review has 
contemplated these requirements. While 
such an analysis is beyond the scope of this 
study, it is obvious that significant 
enlargements of Air Force structure are 

Finally, the Air Force’s fleet of long- 
range bombers should be reassessed. As 
mentioned above, the operations of the B-2s 
during Allied Force are certain to lead to a 
reappraisal of the regional commanders’ 
requirements for that aircraft. Yet another 
striking feature of B-2 operations during the 
Kosovo war was the length of the missions - 
it required a 30-hour, roundtrip sortie from 
Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri for 
each strike - and the difficulty in sustaining 

operations. The bulk of the B-2 fleet is 
often reserved for nuclear missions; in sum, 
the Air Force could generate no more than 
two B-2s every other day for Allied Force. 
Whatever the performance of the B-2, its 
overall effectiveness is severely limited by 
the small size of the fleet and the difficulties 
of operating solely from Whiteman. While 
the cost of restarting the B-2 production line 

may be prohibitive, 
the need is obvious; 
the Air Force could 
increase the 
“productivity” of 
B-2 operations by 
overseas locations 
for which the plane 
could operate in 
times of need, and 
by developing a 
deployable B-2 maintenance capability. As 
the Air Force contemplates its future bomber 
force, it should seek to avoid such a 
dilemma as it develops successors to the B- 
2. And considering the limited viability of 
the bomber leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, the 
Air Force might seek to have bombers no 
longer counted for arms control purposes, 
and equip its B-52s and B-2s solely for 
conventional strike. 

At minimum, the Air Force based in the 
United States should be increased by two or 
more wing equivalents. However, the 
majority of these increases should be 
directed at the specialized aircraft that 
represent the “low-density, high-demand” 
air assets now so lacking. But while this 
will do much to alleviate the stresses on the 
current fighter fleet, it will not be enough to 
offset the effects of the higher tempo of 
operations of the last decade; the F-15 and 
F-16 fleets face looming block obsoles¬ 
cence. This will be partly offset by the 
introduction of the F-22 into the Air Force 
inventory, but as an air superiority aircraft, 
the F-22 is not well suited to today’s less 
stressful missions. The Air Force is buying 
a new race car when it also needs a fleet of 
minivans. The Air Force should purchase 

The Air Force’s 
fleets of support 
aircraft are too 
small for rapid, 
and sustained 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

new multi-mission F-15E and F-16 aircraft. 
The C-17 program should be restored to its 
original 210-aircraft buy, and the Air Force 
should address the need for additional 
electronic support aircraft, both in the near- 
term but also in the longer term as part of its 
transformation efforts. 

If the F-22 is less than perfectly suited 
to today’s needs, the problem of the Joint 
Strike Fighter program is a larger one 
altogether. Moreover, more than half the 
total F-22 program cost has been spent 
already, while spending to date on the JSF - 
although already billions of dollars - 
represents the merest tip of what may prove 
to be a $223 billion iceberg. And greater 
than the technological challenges posed by 
the JSF or its total cost in dollars is the 
question as to whether the program, which 
will extend America’s commitment to 
manned strike aircraft for 50 years or more, 
represents an operationally sound decision. 
Indeed, as will be apparent from the 
discussion below on military transformation 
and the revolution in military affairs, it 
seems unlikely that the current paradigm of 
warfare, dominated by the capabilities of 
tactical, manned aircraft, will long endure. 
An expensive Joint Strike Fighter with 
limited capabilities and significant technical 
risk appears to be a bad investment in such a 
light, and the program should be terminated. 
It is a roadblock to transformation and a 
sink-hole for defense dollars. 

The reconstitution of the stateside Air 
Force as a large-scale, warfighting force will 
complicate the service’s plans to reconfigure 
itself for the purposes of expeditionary 
operations. But the proliferation of overseas 
bases should reduce many, if not all, of the 
burdens of rotational contingency opera¬ 
tions. Because of its inherent mobility and 
flexibility, the Air Force will be the first 
U.S. military force to arrive in a theater 
during times of crisis; as such, the Air Force 
must retain its ability to deploy and sustain 
sufficient numbers of aircraft to deter wars 
and shape any conflict in its earliest stages. 
Indeed, it is the Air Force, along with the 

Army, that remains the core of America’s 
ability to apply decisive military power 
when its pleases. To dissipate this ability to 
deliver a rapid hammer blow is to lose the 
key component of American military 

Air Force Modernization 
And Budgets 

As with the Army, Air Force budgets 
have been significantly reduced during the 
past decade, even as the service has taken on 
new, unanticipated missions and attempts to 
wrestle with the implications of 
expeditionary operations. At the height of 
the Reagan buildup, in 1985, the Air Force 
was authorized $140 billion; by 1992, the 
first post-Cold-War budget figure fell to $98 
billion. During the Clinton years, Air Force 
budgets dropped to a low of $73 billion in 
1997; the administration’s 2001 request was 
for $83 billion (all figures are FY2000 
constant dollars). 

During this period. Air Force leaders 
sacrificed many other essential projects to 
keep the F-22 program going; simply 
restoring the service to health - correcting 
for the shortfalls of recent years plus the 
internal distortions caused by service 
leadership decisions - will require time and 
significantly increased spending. A gradual 
increase in Air Force spending back to a 
$110 billion to $115 billion level is required 
to increase service personnel strength; build 
new units, especially the composite wings 
required to perform the “air constabulary 
missions” such as no-fly zones; add the 
support capabilities necessary to 
complement the fleet of tactical aircraft; 
reinvest in space capabilities and begin the 
process of transformation. 

The F-22 Raptor program should be 
continued to procure three wings’ worth of 
aircraft and to develop and buy the 
munitions necessary to increase the F-22’s 
ability to perform strike missions; although 
the plane has limited bomb-carrying 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

capacity, improved munitions can extend its 
utility in the strike role. The need for 
strategic lift has grown exponentially 
throughout the post-Cold-War era, both in 
terms of volume of lift and for numbers of 
strategic lift platforms; it may be that the 
requirement for strategic airlift now exceeds 
the requirement in the early 1990s when the 
C-17 program was scaled back from a 
planned 210 aircraft to the current plan for 
just 120. The C-17’s ability to land on short 
airfields makes it both a strategic and 
tactical airlifter. Or rather, it is the first 
airlifter to be able to allow for strategic 
deployment direct to an austere theater, as in 

The Joint Strike Fighter, with limited 
capabilities and significant technical 
risk, is a roadblock to future 
transformation and a sink-hole for 
needed defense funds. 

Likewise, the formal requirements for 
AW ACS, JSTARS, “Rivet Joint” and other 
electronic support and combat aircraft were 
set during the Cold War or before the nature 
of the current era was clear. These aircraft 
were designed to operate in conjunction with 
large numbers of fighter aircraft, yet today 
they operate with very small formations in 
no-fly zone, or even virtually alone in 
counter-drug intelligence gathering 
operations. As with the C-17, it is likely 
that a genuine calculation of current 
requirements might result in a larger fleet of 
such aircraft than was considered during the 
late Cold War. In sum, the process of 
rebuilding today’s Air Force - apart from 

procuring sufficient “attrition” F-15s and F- 
16s and proceeding with the F-22 - lies 
primarily in creating the varied support 
capabilities that will complement the fighter 

In the wake of the Kosovo air operation, 
the Air Force should again reconsider the 
issue of strategic bombers. Both the 
successes and limitations of B-2 operations 
during “Allied Force” suggest that the utility 
of long-range strike aircraft has been 
undervalued, not only in major theater wars 
but in constabulary and punitive operations. 
Whether this mandates opening up the B-2 
production line again or in accelerating 
plans to build a new bomber - even an 
unmanned strategic bomber - is beyond the 
level of analysis possible in this study. At 
the same time, it is unlikely that the current 
bomber fleet - mostly B-lBs with a 
shrinking and aging fleet of B-52s and the 
few B-2s that will be available for 
conventional-force operations - is best 
suited to meet these new requirements. 

To move toward the goal of becoming a 
force with truly global reach - and sustained 
global reach - the Air Force must rebuild its 
fleet of tanker aircraft. Sustaining a large- 
scale air campaign, whatever the ability of 
strategic-range bombers, must ultimately 
rely upon theater-range tactical aircraft. As 
amply demonstrated over Kosovo, the 
ability to provide tanker support can often 
be the limiting factor to such large-scale 
operations. The Air Force’s current plan, to 
eventually operate a tanker fleet with 75- 
year-old planes, is not consistent with the 
creation of a global-reach force. 

Finally, the Air Force should use some 
of its increased budget and the savings from 
the cancellation of the Joint Strike Fighter 
program to accelerate the process of 
transformation within the service, to include 
developing new space capabilities. The 
ability to have access to, operate in, and 
dominate the aerospace environment has 
become the key to military success in 
modern, high-technology warfare. Indeed, 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

as will be discussed below, space dominance 
may become so essential to the preservation 
of American military preeminence that it 
may require a separate service. How well 
the Air Force rises to the many challenges it 
faces - even should it receive increased 
budgets - will go far toward determining 
whether U.S. military forces retain the 
combat edge they now enjoy. 

New Course for the Navy 

The end of the Cold War leaves the U.S. 
Navy in a position of unchallenged 
supremacy on the high seas, a dominance 
surpassing that even of the British Navy in 
the 19 th and early parts of the 20 th century. 
With the remains of the Soviet fleet now 
largely rusting in port, the open oceans are 
America’s, and the lines of communication 
open from the coasts of the United States to 
Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Yet 
this very success calls the need for the cur¬ 
rent force structure into question. Further, 
the advance of precision-strike technology 
may mean that naval surface combatants, 
and especially the large-deck aircraft 
carriers that are the Navy’s capital ships, 
may not survive in the high-technology wars 
of the coming decades. Finally, the nature 
and pattern of Navy presence missions may 
be out of synch with emerging strategic 
realities. In sum, though it stands without 
peer today, the Navy faces major challenges 
to its traditional and, in the past, highly 
successful methods of operation. 

As with the Army, the Navy’s ability to 
address these challenges has been addition¬ 
ally compromised by the high pace of 
current operations. As noted in the first 
section of this report, the Navy has disrupted 
the traditional balance between duty at sea 
and ashore, stressing its sailors and 
complicating training cycles. Units ashore 
no longer have the personnel, equipment, or 
opportunities to train; thus, when they go to 
sea, they go at lower levels of readiness than 
in the past. Modernization has been another 
bill-payer for maintaining the readiness of 

at-sea forces during the defense drawdown 
of the past decade. As H. Lee Buchanan, the 
Navy’s top procurement official, recently 
admitted, “After the buildup of the 1980s, at 
the end of the Cold War we literally stopped 
modernizing in order to fund near-term 

The Navy must 
begin to reduce its 
heavy dependence 
on carrier 

[and]... our 
plummeted by 
70 percent. 

The result has 
been an aging 

force structure with little modernization 
investment.” According to recently retired 
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay 
Johnson, the Navy is in danger of slipping 
below a fleet of 300 ships, a level that would 
create “unacceptable risk” in executing the 
missions called for by the national military 
strategy. Unfortunately, he added, “The 
current level of shipbuilding is insufficient 
to preserve even that level of fleet in the 
coming decades.” 

As a consequence, the Navy is 
attempting to conduct a full range of 
presence missions while employing the 
combat forces developed during the later 
years of the Cold War. The Navy must 
embark upon a complex process of 
realignment and reconfiguration. A decade 
of increased operations and reduced 
investment has worn down the fleets that 
won the Cold War. The demands of new 
missions require new methods and patterns 
of operations, with an increasing emphasis 
on East Asia. To meet the strategic need for 
naval power today, the Navy should be 
realigned and reconfigured along these lines: 

• Reflecting the gradual shift in the 
focus of American strategic concerns 
toward East Asia, a majority of the 
U.S. fleet, including two thirds of all 
carrier battle groups, should be 
concentrated in the Pacific. A new, 
permanent forward base should be 
established in Southeast Asia. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

• The Navy must begin to transition 
away from its heavy dependence on 
carrier operations, reducing its fleet 
from 12 to nine carriers over the next 
six years. A moratorium on carrier 
construction should be imposed after 
the completion of the CVN-77, 
allowing the Navy to retain a nine- 
carrier force through 2025. Design 
and research on a future CVX carrier 
should continue, but should aim at a 
radical design change to accom¬ 
modate an air wing based primarily 
on unmanned aerial vehicles. The 
Navy should complete the F/A-18E/F 
program, refurbish and modernize its 
support aircraft, consider the 
suitability of a carrier-capable version 
of the Air Force’s F-22, but keep the 
Joint Strike Fighter program in 
research and development until the 
implications of the revolution in 
military affairs for naval warfare are 
understood better. 

• To offset the reduced role of carriers, 
the Navy should slightly increase its 
fleets of current-generation surface 
combatants and submarines for 
improved strike capabilities in littoral 
waters and to conduct an increasing 
proportion of naval presence missions 
with surface action groups. 

Additional investments in counter¬ 
mine warfare are needed, as well. 

State of the Navy Today 

The first step in maintaining American 
naval preeminence must be to restore the 
health of the current fleet as rapidly as 
possible. Though the Navy’s deployments 
today have not changed as profoundly as 
have those of the Army or Air Force - the 
sea services have long manned, equipped 
and trained themselves for the rigors of long 
deployments at sea - the number of these 
duties has increased as the Navy has been 
reduced. The Navy also faces a shipbuilding 
and larger modernization problem that, if 

not immediately addressed, will reach crisis 
proportions in the next decade. 

Thus, like the other services, the Navy is 
increasingly ill prepared for missions today 
and tomorrow. For the past several years, 
Adm. Johnson has admitted the Navy “was 
never sized to do two [major theater wars]” 

- meaning that, after the defense drawdown, 
the Navy is too small to meet the require¬ 
ments of the current national military 
strategy. According to Johnson: “The QDR 
concluded that a fleet of slightly more than 
300 ships was sufficient for near term 
requirements and was within an acceptable 
level of risk. Three years of high tempo 
operations since then, however, suggest that 
this size fleet will be inadequate to sustain 
the current level of operations for the long 

Even as the Navy has shrunk to a little 
more than half its Cold-War size, the pace of 
operations has grown so rapidly that the 
Navy is experiencing readiness problems 
and personnel shortages. These problems 
are so grave that forward-deployed naval 
forces, the carrier battle groups that are 
currently the core of the Navy’s presence 
mission, now put to sea with significant 
personnel problems. When the USS Lincoln 
carrier battle group fired Tomahawk cruise 
missiles at terrorist camps in Afghanistan 
and suspected chemical weapons facilities in 
Sudan, it did so with 12 percent fewer 
people in the battle group than on the 
previous deployment. Similarly, during the 
February 1998 confrontation with Iraq, the 
Navy sent three carriers to the Persian Gulf. 
The USS George Washington deployed the 
Gulf with only 4,600 sailors, almost 1,000 
fewer than its previous cruise there two 
years earlier. The carrier USS 
Independence, dispatched on short notice 
from its permanent home in Japan, sailed 
with only 4,200 sailors and needed an 
emergency influx of about 80 sailors just so 
it could be rated fit for combat. The USS 
Nimitz, already in the Middle East, was 400 
sailors shy of its previous cruise. The Navy 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

also had to issue two urgent calls for 
volunteer sailors in port back home. 

This is a worrisome trend. Today more 
than ever, U.S. Navy operations center 
around the carrier battle group. Indeed, the 
ability to conduct additional operations or 
even training independent from battle group 
operations is increasingly difficult. But the 
process of piecing together the elements of a 
battle group - the carrier itself, its air wing, 
its surface escorts, its submarines, and its 
accompanying Marine Amphibious Ready 
Group - is also becoming a substantial 

Bringing a carrier battle group to the 
high states of readiness demanded by 
deployments to sea is a complex and 
rigorous task, involving tens of thousands of 
personnel over an 18-month period. 
Formally known as the “interdeployment 
training cycle” and more often called the 
readiness “bathtub,” this period is the key to 
readiness at sea. Equipment must be 
overhauled and maintained, personnel 
assigned and reassigned, and training 
accomplished from individual skills up 
through complex battle group operations. 
Shortfalls and cutbacks felt in the inter¬ 
deployment cycle result in diminished 
readiness at sea. And finally and vitally 
important to the health of an all-volunteer 
force - sailors must reestablish the bonds 
and ties with their families that allow them 
to concentrate on their duties while at sea. 

Although Navy leaders have recently 
focused on the cutbacks in their inter¬ 
deployment training cycle, it is clear that 
postponed maintenance and training is 
having an increasing effect on the readiness 
of forces at sea. As a result, naval task 
forces are compelled to complete their 
training while they are deployed, rather than 
beforehand. And with fully 52 percent of its 
ships afloat, including training, and 33 
percent actually deployed at sea - compared 
to historical norms of 42 percent at sea and 
21 percent deployed, Navy leaders are 
contemplating a reduction in the size of 

carrier battle groups by trimming the 
number of escorts. Most ominously, the 
Navy’s ability to surge large fleets in 
wartime - the requirement to meet the two- 
war standard - is declining. As Adm. 
Johnson told the Congress: 

[N]early every Major Theater War 
scenario would require the rapid 
deployment of forces from [the United 
States]. Because of the increasingly 
deep bathtub in our [interdeployment 
training cycle] readiness posture, these 
follow-on forces 
most likely will 
not be at the 
desired levels of 
quickly enough. 
Concern over the 
readiness of non ¬ 
deploy ed forces 
was a 

■Johnson factor to the 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
recently changing his overall risk 
assessment of a two[-war] scenario to 
moderate to high. 

This assessment has prompted 
Johnson’s successor, Adm. Vernon Clark, 
the former commander of the Atlantic Fleet 
who was confirmed as CNO in June, to 
outline a major reallocation of resources to 
increase the readiness of carrier battle 
groups - although only to the “C-2” rating 
level, still below the highest standard. “To 
me, readiness is a top priority,” said Clark in 
his confirmation testimony. “It simply 
means taking care of the Navy that the 
American people have already invested in.” 

But while Clark is correct about the 
Navy’s increasing troubles maintaining its 
current readiness, an even larger problem 
looms just over the horizon. The Navy’s 
“procurement holiday” of the past decade 
has left the service facing a serious problem 
of block obsolescence in the next 10 years. 
Unless current trends are reversed, the Navy 
will be too small to meet its worldwide 
commitments. Both in its major ship and 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

aircraft programs, the Navy has been 
purchasing too few systems to sustain even 
the reduced, post-Cold War fleet called for 
in the Quadrennial Defense Review. 

As a result of the significant expansion 
of the Navy to nearly 600 ships during the 
Reagan years and the following drawdown 
of the 1990s, today’s Navy of just over 300 
ships is made up of relatively new ships, and 
thus the low shipbuilding rates of the past 
decade have not yet had a dramatic effect on 
the fleet. Assuming the traditional “ship- 
life” of about 30 
to 35 years, 
maintaining a 
300-ship Navy 
requires the 
purchase of about 
eight to 10 ships 
per year. The 
Clinton Admini¬ 
stration’s 2001 
defense budget 
request includes a 
request for eight 
ships, the first 
time in several years that the number is that 
high. And the administration’s long-term 
plan would purchase 39 ships over 5 years, 
still below the required replacement rate, but 
an improvement over recent Navy budgets. 

However, there is less to this apparent 
improvement than meets the eye. The slight 
increase in the shipbuilding rate is achieved 
by purchasing less expensive auxiliary cargo 
ships, which typically cost $300 to $400 
million, compared to $ 1 billion for an attack 
submarine or Arleigh Burke-class Aegis 
destroyer, or $6 billion for an aircraft 
carrier. According to a Congressional 
Research Service analysis, the 
administration plan would buy unneeded 
cargo ships, “procured at a rate in excess of 
the steady-state replacement for Navy 
auxiliaries.” The replacement rate for 
auxiliaries is approximately 1.5 per year; the 
administration’s request includes one in 
2001, three each in 2002 and 2003, and two 
each in 2004 and 2005. 

While buying too many cheap 
auxiliaries, the administration is buying too 
few combatants, as the state of the 
submarine force indicates. In 1997, the 
Navy’s fleet of 72 attack boats was too small 
to meet its operational requirements, yet, at 
the same time, the QDR called for a further 
reduction of the attack submarine force to 50 
boats. Since then, these additional 
reductions in the submarine force have 
exacerbated the problem. As the Navy’s 
director of submarine programs, Adm. 
Malcolm Fages told the Senate last year, 

“We have transitioned from a requirements- 
driven force to an asset-limited force 
structure. Today, although we have 58 
submarines in the force, we have too few 
submarines to accomplish all assigned 

Nor is it likely that the Navy will be able 
to stop the hemorrhaging of its attack 
submarine fleet. For the period from 1990 
through 2005, the Navy will have purchased 
just 10 new attack submarines, according to 
current plans. But the replacement rate for 
even a 50-sub fleet would have required 
procurement of 23 to 27 boats during that 
time period. In sum, the Navy has a 
submarine-building “deficit” of 13 to 17 
boats, even to maintain a fleet that is too 
small to meet operational and strategic 
needs. According to the administration’s 
budget request, the Navy plans to build no 
more than one new attack submarine per 
year. Assuming the 30-year service life for 
nuclear attack submarines, the American 
submarine fleet would slip to 24 boats by 

The Navy’s fleet of surface combatants 
faces much the same dilemma as does the 
submarine force: it is too small to meet its 
current missions and, as seaborne missile 
defense systems are developed, the surface 
fleet faces substantial new missions for 
which it is now unprepared. For these 
reasons, the Navy has prepared a new report, 
entitled the Surface Combatant Force Level 
Study, arguing that the true requirement for 
surface combatants is 138 warships, 

The Navy has 
built up a 
deficit’ - of 
surface ships, 
submarines and 
aircraft - that 
will soon 
approach $100 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

compared to the 116 called for under the 
Quadrennial Defense Review. By 
comparison, the Navy had 203 surface 
combatants in 1990 and the Bush 
Administration’s “Base Force” plan called 
for a surface fleet of 141 ships. 

As of last year, Navy shipbuilding had a 
current “deficit” of approximately 26 ships, 
even before the requirements of new mis¬ 
sions such as ballistic missile are calculated. 
To maintain a 300-ship fleet, the Navy must 
maintain a ship procurement rate of about 
8.6 ships per year. Yet from 1993 to 2005, 
according to administration plans, the Navy 
will have bought 85 ships, or about 6.5 ships 
per year. Steady-state rates would have 
required the purchase of 111 ships, accor¬ 
ding to the Congressional Research Service 
analysis. Once the large number of ships 
bought during the 1980s begins to reach the 
end of its service life, the Navy will begin to 
shrink rapidly, and maintaining a fleet above 
250 ships will be difficult to do. 

As with ships and submarines, the 
Navy’s aircraft fleet is living off the 
purchases made during the buildup of the 
Reagan years. The average age of naval 
aircraft is 16.5 years and increasing. While 
the Navy’s F-14 and F-18 fighters are being 
upgraded, the aging of the fleet is most 
telling on support aircraft. The Navy’s plan 
to refurbish the P-3C submarine-hunting 
plane will extend the Orion’s life to 50 
years; the fleet average now is 21 years. 

The E-2 Hawkeye, the Navy’s airborne early 
warning and command and control plane, 
was first produced in the 1960s. The S-3B 
Viking is another aircraft essential to many 
aspects of carrier operations; it is 23 years 
old and no longer in production. And the 
EA-6B Prowler is now the only electronic 
warfare aircraft flown by any of the services, 
and is now considered a national asset, not 
merely a Navy platform. Operation Allied 
Force employed approximately 60 of the 90 
operational EA-6Bs then in the fleet; current 
Navy plans are to refurbish the entire 123 
Prowler airframes that still exist, inserting a 
new center wing section on this 1960s-era 

aircraft and improving its electronic 
systems. No new elect ionic warfare aircraft 
is in the program of any service. 

As a result of a decade-long procure¬ 
ment holiday, a Navy already too small to 
meet many of its current missions is heading 
for a modernization crisis; indeed, it already 
may have built up a “modernization deficit” 
- of surface ships, submarines, and aircraft, 
that will soon approach $100 billion - even 
as the Navy is asked to take on additional 
new missions such as ballistic missile 
defense. Higher operations tempos, person¬ 
nel and training problems and spare parts 
shortfalls have reduced Navy readiness. By 
any measure, today’s Navy is unable to meet 
the increasing number of missions it faces 
currently, let alone prepare itself for a trans¬ 
formed paradigm of future naval warfare. 

New Deployment Patterns 

Revitalizing the Navy will require more 
than improved readiness and recapitaliza¬ 
tion, however. The Navy’s structure and 
pattern of operations must be reconsidered 
in light of new strategic realities as well. In 
general terms, this should reflect an 
increased emphasis on operations in the 
western Pacific and a decreased emphasis on 
aircraft carriers. 

As discussed above, the focus of 
American security strategy for the coming 
century is likely to shift to East Asia. This 
reflects the success of American strategy in 
the 20 th century, and particularly the success 
of the NATO alliance through the Cold War, 
which has created what appears to be a 
generally stable and enduring peace in 
Europe. The pressing new problem of 
European security - instability in South¬ 
eastern Europe - will be best addressed by 
the continued stability operations in the 
Balkans by U.S. and NATO ground forces 
supported by land-based air forces. 

Likewise, the new opportunity for greater 
European stability offered by further NATO 
expansion will make demands first of all on 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

ground and land-based air forces. As the 
American security perimeter in Europe is 
removed eastward, this pattern will endure, 
although naval forces will play an important 
role in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean 
and Black Sea, and will continue to support 
U.S. and NATO operations ashore. 

Also, while it is 
likely that the 
Middle East and 
Persian Gulf will 
remain an area of 
turmoil and 
instability, the 
presence of 
American ground 
forces and land- 
based air forces in 
the region mark a 
notable shift from 
the 1980s, when 

Tomahawk cruise 
missiles have been 
the Navy weapon of 
choice in recent 
strike operations. 

an important partner in Gulf and regional 
operations, the load can now be shared more 
equitably with other services. And, 
according to the force posture described in 
the preceding chapter, future American 
policy should seek to augment the forces 
already in the region or nearby. However, 
since current U.S. Navy force structure, and 
particularly its carrier battle-group structure, 
is driven by the current requirements for 
Gulf operations, the reduced emphasis of 
naval forces in the Gulf will have an effect 
on overall Navy structure. 

Thus, the emphasis of U.S. Navy 
operations should shift increasingly toward 
East Asia. Not only is this the theater of 
rising importance in overall American 
strategy and for preserving American 
preeminence, it is the theater in which naval 
forces will make the greatest contribution. 

naval iorces 
carried the 
burden of U.S. 
military presence 
in the region. 
Although the 
Navy will remain 

As stressed several times above, the United 
States should seek to establish - or 
reestablish - a more robust naval presence in 
Southeast Asia, marked by a long-term, 
semi-permanent home port in the region, 
perhaps in the Philip-pines, Australia, or 
both. Over the next decade, this presence 
should become roughly equivalent to the 
naval forces stationed in Japan (17 ships 
based around the Kitty Hawk carrier battle 
group and Belleau Wood Marine amphibious 
ready group). Optimally, these forward- 
deployed forces, both in Japan and 
ultimately in Southeast Asia, should be 
increased with additional surface 
combatants. In effect, one of the carrier 
battle groups now based on the West Coast 
of the United States should be shifted into 
the East Asian theater. 

Rotational naval forces form the bulk of 
the U.S. Navy; as indicated above, the size 
of the current fleet is dictated by the 
presence requirements of the regional 
commanders-in-chief as determined during 
the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review. 

And, the Navy and Department of Defense 
have defined presence primarily in terms of 
aircraft carrier battle groups. The current 
need to keep approximately three carriers 
deployed equates to an overall force 
structure of eleven carriers (plus one reserve 
carrier for training). In truth, the structure- 
to-deployed forces ratio is actually higher, 
for the Navy always counts its Japan-based 
forces as “deployed,” even when not at sea. 
Further, because of transit times and other 
factors, the ratio for carriers deployed to the 
Persian Gulf is about five to one. 

Although the combination of carriers 
and Marine amphibious groups offer a 
unique and highly capable set of options for 
commanders, it is far from certain that the 
Navy’s one-size-fits all approach is 
appropriate to every contingency or to every 
engagement mission now assumed by U.S. 
forces. First of all, the need for carriers in 
peacetime, “show-the-flag” missions should 
be reevaluated and reduced. The Navy is 
right to assert, as quoted above, that “being 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

‘on-scene’ matters” to reassure America’s 
allies and intimidate potential adversaries. 
But where American strategic interests are 
well understood and long-standing, 
especially in Europe and in the Persian Gulf 
- or in Korea - the ability to position forces 
ashore offsets the need for naval presence. 

While carrier aviation still has a large 
role to play in naval operations, that 
role is becoming relatively less 

More importantly, the role of carriers in 
war is certainly changing. While carrier 
aviation still has a large role to play in naval 
operations, that role is becoming relatively 
less important. A review of post-Cold War 
operations conducted by the American 
military reveals one salient factor: carriers 
have almost always played a secondary role. 
Operation Just Cause in Panama was almost 
exclusively an Army and Air Force 
operation. The Gulf War, by far the largest 
operation in the last decade, involved 
significant elements of all services, but the 
air campaign was primarily an Air Force 
show and the central role in the ground war 
was played by Army units. The conduct of 
post-war no-fly zones has frequently 
involved Navy aircraft, but their role has 
been to lighten the burden on the Air Force 
units that have flown the majority of sorties 
in these operations. Naval forces also have 
participated in the periodic strikes against 
Iraq, but even during the largest of these, 
Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, 
Navy aircraft did not have range to reach 

certain targets or were not employed against 
well-defended targets. These are now 
missions handled almost exclusively by 
stealthy aircraft or cruise missiles. 

Fikewise, during Operation Allied Force, 
Navy planes played a reinforcing role. And, 
of course, neither Navy nor Marine units 
have played a significant role in 
peacekeeping duties in Bosnia or Kosovo. 

The one recent operation where naval 
forces, and carrier forces in particular, did 
play the leading role is also suggestive of the 
Navy’s future: the dispatching of two carrier 
battle groups to the waters off Taiwan 
during the 1996 Chinese “missile blockade.” 
Several factors are worth noting. First, the 
crisis occurred in East Asia, in the western 
Pacific Ocean. Thus, the Navy was 
uniquely positioned and postured to respond. 
Not only did the Seventh Fleet make it first 
on the scene, but deploying and sustaining 
ground forces or land-based aircraft to the 
region would have been difficult. Second, 
the potential enemy was China. Although 
Pentagon thinking about major theater war 
in East Asia has centered on Korea - where 
again land and land-based air forces would 
likely play the leading role - the Taiwan 
crisis was perhaps more indicative of the 
longer-range future. A third question has no 
easy answer: what, indeed, would these 
carrier battle groups have been able to do in 
the event of escalation or the outbreak of 
hostilities? Had the Chinese actually 
targeted missiles at Taiwan, it is doubtful 
that the Aegis air-defense systems aboard 
the cruisers and destroyers in the battle 
groups could have provided an effective 
defense. Punitive strikes against Chinese 
forces by carrier aircraft, or cruise missile 
strikes, might have been a second option, 
but a problematic option. And, as in recent 
strike operations elsewhere, initial attacks 
certainly would have employed cruise 
missiles exclusively, or perhaps cruise 
missiles and stealthy, land-based aircraft. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Thus, while naval presence, including 
carrier presence, in the western Pacific 
should be increased, the Navy should begin 
to conduct many of its presence missions 
with other kinds of battle groups based 
around cruisers, destroyers and other surface 
combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, 
the Navy needs 
to better 
understand the 
requirement to 
have substantial 
numbers of 
platforms at sea 
and in close 
proximity to 
regional hot 
spots, using 
carriers and 
naval aviation as reinforcing elements. 
Moreover, the reduced need for naval 
aviation in the European theater and in the 
Gulf suggests that the carrier elements in the 
Atlantic fleet can be reduced. Therefore, in 
addition to the two forward-based carrier 
groups recommended above, the Navy 
should retain a further fleet of three active 
plus one reserve carriers homeported on the 
west coast of the United States and a three- 
carrier Atlantic fleet. Overall, this 
represents a reduction of three carriers. 

However, the reduction in carriers must 
be offset by an increase in surface com¬ 
batants, submarines and also in support 
ships to make up for the logistics functions 
that the carrier performs for the entire battle 
group. As indicated above, the surface fleet 
is already too small to meet current 
requirements and must be expanded to 
accommodate the requirements for sea- 
based ballistic missile defenses. Further, the 
Navy’s fleet of frigates is likely to be 
inadequate for the long term, and the need 
for smaller and simpler ships to respond to 
presence and other lesser contingency 
missions should be examined by the Navy. 
To patrol the American security perimeter at 
sea, including a significant role in theater 

missile defenses, might require a surface 
combatant fleet of 150 vessels. 

The Navy’s force of attack submarines 
also should be expanded. While many of 
the true submarine requirements like 
intelligence-gathering missions and as 
cruise-missile platforms were not considered 
fully during the QDR - and it will take some 
time to understand how submarine needs 
would change to make up for changes in the 
carrier force - by any reckoning the 50-boat 
fleet now planned is far too small. 

However, as is the case with surface 
combatants, the need to increase the size of 
the fleet must compete with the need to 
introduce new classes of vessels that have 
advanced capabilities. It is unclear that the 
current and planned generations of attack 
submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic 
missile submarines) will be flexible enough 
to meet future demands. The Navy should 
reassess its submarine requirements not 
merely in light of current missions but with 
an expansive view of possible future 
missions as well. 

Finally, the reduction in carriers should 
not be accompanied by a commensurate 
reduction in naval air wings. Already, the 
Navy maintains just 10 air wings, too small 
a structure for the current carrier fleet, 
especially considering the rapid aging of the 
Navy’s aircraft. Older fighters like the F-14 
have taken on new strike missions, and the 
multi-mission F/A-18 is wearing out faster 
than expected due to higher-than-anticipated 
rates of use and more stressful uses. Even 
should the Navy simply cease to purchase 
aircraft carriers today, it could maintain a 
nine-carrier force until 2025, assuming the 
CVN-77, already programmed under current 
defense budgets, was built. A small carrier 
fleet must be maintained at a higher state of 
readiness for combat while in port, as should 
Navy air wings. 

The Navy’s 
surface fleet is 
too small to meet 
war plans and 
future missile 
defense duties. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Marine Corps: 

‘Back to the Future ’ 

For the better part of a century, the 
United States has maintained the largest 
complement of naval infantry of any nation. 
The U.S. Marine Corps, with a three- 
division structure mandated by law and with 
a strength of more than 170,000, is larger 
than all but a few land armies in the world. 
Its close relationship with the Navy - to say 
nothing of its own highly sophisticated air 
force - gives the Corps extraordinary 
mobility and combat power. Even as it has 
been reduced by about 15 percent since the 
end of the Cold War, the Marine Coips has 
added new capabilities, notably for special 
operations and most recently for response to 
chemical and biological strikes. This 
versatility, combined with a punishing 
deployment schedule, makes the Marine 
Corps a valuable tool for maintaining 
American global influence and military 
preeminence; Marines afloat can both 
respond relatively rapidly in times of crisis, 
yet loiter ashore for extended periods of 

Yet while this large Marine Corps is 
uniquely valuable to a world power like the 
United States, it must be understood that the 
Corps fills but a niche in the overall 
capabilities needed for American military 
preeminence. The Corps lacks the 
sophisticated and sustainable land-power 
capabilities of the Army; the high- 
performance, precision-strike capabilities of 
the Air Force; and, absent its partnership 
with the Navy, lacks firepower. Restoring 
the health of the Marine Coips will require 
not only purchases of badly needed new 
equipment and restoring the strength of the 
Corps to something near 200,000 Marines, it 
will also depend on the Corps’ ability to 
focus on its core naval infantry mission - a 
mission of renewed importance to American 
security strategy. 

In particular, the Marine Corps, like the 
Navy, must turn its focus on the 

requirements for operations in East Asia, 
including Southeast Asia. In many ways, 
this will be a “back to the future” mission 
for the Corps, recalling the innovative 
thinking done during the period between the 
two world wars and which established the 
Marines’ expertise in amphibious landings 
and operations. Yet it will also require the 
Corps to shed some of its current capacity - 
such as heavy tanks and artillery - acquired 
during the late Cold War years. It will also 
require the Marines to acquire the ability to 
work better with other services, notably the 
Army and Air Force, by improving its 
communications, data links and other 
systems needed for sophisticated joint 
operations, and of course by more frequent 
joint exercises. These new missions and 
requirements will increase the need for 
Marine modernization, especially in 
acquiring the V-22 “Osprey” tilt-rotor 
aircraft, which will give the Corps extended 
operational range. And, as will be discussed 
in greater detail in the section on 
transformation, the Marine Corps must 
begin now to address the likely increased 
vulnerability of surface ships in future 
conflicts. To maintain its unique and 
valuable role, the Marine Corps should: 

• Be expanded to permit the forward 
basing of a second Marine 
Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in East 
Asia. This MEU should be based in 
Southeast Asia along with the 
repositioned Navy carrier battle 
group as described above. 

• Likewise be increased in strength by 
about 25,000 to improve the personnel 
status of Marine units, especially 
nondeployed units undergoing 

• Be realigned to create lighter units 
with greater infantry strength and 
better abilities for joint operations, 
especially including other services’ 
fires in support of Marine operations. 
The Marine Corps should review its 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

unit and force structure to eliminate 
marginal capabilities. 

• Accelerate the purchase of V-22 
aircraft and the Advanced 
Amphibious Assault Vehicle to 
improve ship-to-shore maneuver, and 
increase tactical mobility and range. 

The State of the Marine Corps 

Like its sister sea service, the Marine 
Corps is suffering from more missions than 
it can handle and a shortage of resources. 
Although Corps commandants have tended 
to emphasize Marine modernization 
problems, the training and readiness of units 
that are not actually deployed have also 
plummeted. The Marines’ ability to field 
the large force that contributed greatly to the 
Gulf War land campaign is increasingly in 
doubt. Of all the service chiefs of staff, 
recently retired Marine Commandant Gen. 
Charles Krulak was the first to publicly 
admit that his service was not capable of 
executing the missions called for in the 
national military strategy. 

Like the Navy, the Marine Corps has 
paid the price for rotational readiness in 
terms of on-shore training, modernization 
and quality of life. Marine Corps leaders 
stress that much of the problem stems from 
the age of the Marines’ equipment: “Our 
problems today are caused by the fact that 
we are, and have been, plowing scarce 
resources - Marines, money, material - into 
our old equipment and weapon systems in 
an attempt to keep them operational,” 

Krulak explained to Congress shortly before 

Much Marine equipment is serving far 
beyond its programmed service life. And 
although the Marine Corps has invested 
heavily in programs to extend the life of 
these systems, equipment availability rates 
are falling throughout the service. Marine 
equipment always wears out rapidly, due to 
the corrosive effects of salt water on metal 

The V-22 Osprey will increase the 
speed and range with which Marines 
can deploy. 

and electronics. Even a relatively modern 
piece of Marine equipment, the Light 
Armored Vehicle, is feeling the effect. In 
1995, the Marines began an “Inspect, Repair 
Only as Necessary” program on the Light 
Armored Vehicle, and have experienced a 
25 percent rise in the cost per vehicle and a 
46 percent rise in the number of vehicles 
requiring the repairs. For some Marine 
units, the biggest challenge is the 
availability of parts, even in such a time of 
repair and recovery. At Camp Lejuene, 
North Carolina, maintenance officers and 
NCOs make near-daily trips to nearby Fort 
Bragg to get parts for inoperable vehicles 
such as the battalion’s High Mobility 
Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles 
(HMMWV). In part because the Marines 
have the oldest version of the HMMWV, no 
longer made for the Army, bartering with 
the 82 nd Airborne is the most common 
answer for procuring a needed part. 

But although the Marine Corps’ primary 
concern is again equipment, the service is 
hardly immune to the personnel and training 
problems plaguing the other services. Faced 
not only with a demanding schedule of 
traditional six-month sea deployments but 
with an increasing load of unanticipated 
duties, the interdeployment “bathtub of 
unreadiness” has deepened and the climb out 
has grown steeper. Like the Navy, the 
Marine Corps has had to curtail its on-shore 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

training, especially in the rudiments that are 
the building blocks of unit readiness. Even 
then, it may be required to deploy smaller 
elements to assist other units in training or 
participate in exercises. Often, Marine units 
will be forced to send 
under-strength units for 
major live-fire and 
maneuver exercises 
that in times past were 
the keys to deployed 
readiness. Moreover, 
large Marine units lack 
the infantry punch they 
had in the past. Marine 
divisions have fewer 
rifleman than in past; 
as the overall strength 
of the Marine Corps 
has been cut from 197,000 to the 172,000 as 
specified in the Quadrennial Defense 
Review, the number of infantry battalions in 
the division was cut from 11 to nine; 
authorized personnel in the division went 
from 19,161 to 15,816. 

size of the Navy again - Navy procurement 
budgets averaged $43 billion. 

To realign and reconfigure the Navy as 
described above, Department of the Navy 
spending overall should be increased to 
between $100 billion and $110 billion. This 
slightly exceeds the levels of spending 
anticipated by the final Bush 
Administration, and is necessary to 
accelerate ship- and submarine-building 
efforts. After several years, this will be 
partially offset by the moratorium in aircraft 
carrier construction and by holding the Joint 
Strike Fighter program in research and 
development. Yet maintaining a Navy 
capable of dominating the open oceans, 
providing effective striking power to joint 
operations ashore and transforming itself for 
future naval warfare - in short, a Navy able 
to preserve U.S. maritime preeminence - 
will require much more than marginal 
increases in Navy budgets. 


should be 
increased to 
between $100 
and $110 

Navy and Marine Corps Budgets 

President Clinton’s 2001 budget request 
included $91.7 billion for the Department of 
the Navy. (This figure includes funding for 
the Navy and Marine Corps.) This is an 
increase from the $87.2 billion approved by 
Congress for 2000, a sharp reduction from 
the Navy’s $107 billion budget in 1992, the 
first true post-Cold-War budget. 

Equally dramatic is the reduction in 
Navy Department procurement budgets. For 
2000, the administration requested just 
under $22 billion in total Navy and Marine 
Corps procurement; from 1994 through 
1997, at the peak of the “procurement 
holiday,” department procurement budgets 
averaged just $17 billion. By contrast, 
during the Bush years, Navy procurement 
averaged $35 billion; during the years of the 
Reagan buildup - arguably a relevant 
comparison, given the need to expand the 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force 

To preserve American military 
preeminence in the coming decades, the 
Department of Defense must move more 
aggressively to experiment with new 
technologies and operational concepts, and 
seek to exploit the emerging revolution in 
military affairs. Information technologies, 
in particular, are becoming more prevalent 
and significant components of modern 
military systems. These information tech¬ 
nologies are having the same kind of trans¬ 
forming effects on military affairs as they 
are having in the larger world. The effects 
of this military transformation will have 
profound implications for how wars are 
fought, what kinds of weapons will 
dominate the battlefield and, inevitably, 
which nations enjoy military preeminence. 

The United States enjoys every prospect 
of leading this transformation. Indeed, it 
was the improvements in capabilities 
acquired during the American defense build¬ 
up of the 1980s that hinted at and then 
confirmed, during Operation Desert Storm, 
that a revolution in military affairs was at 
hand. At the same time, the process of 
military transformation will present 
opportunities for America’s adversaries to 
develop new capabilities that in turn will 
create new challenges for U.S. military 

Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by 
limited budgets and pressing current 
missions, has seen funding for experi¬ 
mentation and transformation crowded out 
in recent years. Spending on military 
research and development has been reduced 
dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, 
during the mid-1980’s, when the Defense 

Department was in the midst of the Reagan 
buildup which was primarily an effort to 
expand existing forces and field traditional 
weapons systems, research spending 
represented 20 percent of total Pentagon 
budgets. By contrast, today’s research and 
development accounts total only 8 percent of 
defense spending. And even this reduced 
total is primarily for upgrades of current 
weapons. Without increased spending on 
basic research and development the United 
States will be unable to exploit the RMA 
and preserve its technological edge on future 

Any serious effort at transformation 
must occur within the larger framework of 
U.S. national security strategy, military 
missions and defense budgets. The United 
States cannot 

simply declare a 
“strategic pause” 

with new 
technologies and 
concepts. Nor 
can it choose to 
pursue a 
strategy that 
would decouple 
American and 

The effects of 
the RMA will 
have profound 
implications for 
how wars are 
fought, what 
dominate, and 
which nations 
enjoy military 

allied interests. 

A transformation strategy that solely 
pursued capabilities for projecting force 
from the United States, for example, and 
sacrificed forward basing and presence, 
would be at odds with larger American 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

policy goals and would trouble American 

Further, the process of transformation, 
even if it brings revolutionary change, is 
likely to be a long one, absent some 
catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a 
new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and 
industrial policy will shape the pace and 
content of transformation as much as the 
requirements of current missions. A 
decision to suspend or terminate aircraft 
carrier production, as recommended by this 
report and as justified by the clear direction 
of military technology, will cause great 
upheaval. Likewise, systems entering 
production today - the F-22 fighter, for 
example - will be in service inventories for 
decades to come. Wise management of this 
process will consist in large measure of 
figuring out the right moments to halt 
production of current-paradigm weapons 
and shift to radically new designs. The 
expense associated with some programs can 
make them roadblocks to the larger process 
of transformation - the Joint Strike Fighter 
program, at a total of approximately $200 
billion, seems an unwise investment. Thus, 
this report advocates a two-stage process of 
change - transition and transformation - 
over the coming decades. 

In general, to maintain American 
military preeminence that is consistent with 
the requirements of a strategy of American 
global leadership, tomorrow’s U.S. armed 
forces must meet three new missions: 

• Global missile defenses. A network 
against limited strikes, capable of 
protecting the United States, its allies 
and forward-deployed forces, must be 
constructed. This must be a layered 
system of land, sea, air and space- 
based components. 

• Control of space and cyberspace. 
Much as control of the high seas - and 
the protection of international 
commerce - defined global powers in 
the past, so will control of the new 

“international commons” be a key to 
world power in the future. An 
America incapable of protecting its 
interests or that of its allies in space 
or the “infosphere” will find it 
difficult to exert global political 

• Pursuing a two-stage strategy for of 
transforming conventional forces. In 
exploiting the “revolution in military 
affairs,” the Pentagon must be driven 
by the enduring missions for U.S. 
forces. This process will have two 
stages: transition, featuring a mix of 
current and new systems; and true 
transformation, featuring new 
systems, organizations and 
operational concepts. This process 
must take a competitive approach, 
with services and joint-service 
operations competing for new roles 
and missions. Any successful process 
of transformation must be linked to 
the services, which are the institutions 
within the Defense Department with 
the ability and the responsibility for 
linking budgets and resources to 
specific missions. 

Missile Defenses 

Ever since the Persian Gulf War of 
1991, when an Iraqi Scud missile hit a Saudi 
warehouse in which American soldiers were 
sleeping, causing the largest single number 
of casualties in the war; when Israeli and 
Saudi citizens donned gas masks in nightly 
terror of Scud attacks; and when the great 
“Scud Hunt” proved to be an elusive game 
that absorbed a huge proportion of U.S. 
aircraft, the value of the ballistic missile has 
been clear to America’s adversaries. When 
their missiles are tipped with warheads 
carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical 
weapons, even weak regional powers have a 
credible deterrent, regardless of the balance 
of conventional forces. That is why, 
according to the CIA, a number of regimes 
deeply hostile to America - North Korea, 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria - “already have 
or are developing ballistic missiles” that 
could threaten U.S allies and forces abroad. 
And one, North Korea, is on the verge of 
deploying missiles that can hit the American 
homeland. Such capabilities pose a grave 
challenge to the American peace and the 
military power that preserves that peace. 

To increase their 
interceptors like the 
Army’s Theater 
High-Altitude Area 
Defense System 
must be networked 
to space-based 

The ability to 
control this emerg¬ 
ing threat through 
traditional nonpro¬ 
liferation treaties 
is limited when 
the geopolitical 
and strategic 
advantages of such 
weapons are so 
apparent and so 
readily acquired. 
The Clinton 
diplomacy, threats 
and pleadings did 
nothing to prevent 
first India and 
shortly thereafter 
Pakistan from 
their nuclear 
capabilities. Nor 
have formal 
agreements such 
as the 1987 
Control Regime 
done much to stem 


proliferation, even when backed by U.S. 
sanctions; in the final analysis, the 
administration has preferred to subordinate 
its nonproliferation policy to larger regional 
and country-specific goals. Thus, President 
Clinton lamented in June 1998 that he found 
sanctions legislation so inflexible that he 
was forced to “fudge” the intelligence 
evidence on China’s transfer of ballistic 
missiles to Pakistan to avoid the legal 

requirements to impose sanctions on 

At the same time, the administration’s 
devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile 
(ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has 
frustrated development of useful ballistic 
missile defenses. This is reflected in deep 
budget cuts - planned spending on missile 
defenses for the late 1990s has been more 
than halved, halting work on space-based 
interceptors, cutting funds for a national 
missile defense system by 80 percent and 
theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the 
administration has cut funding just at the 
crucial moments when individual programs 
begin to show promise. Only upgrades of 
currently existing systems like the Patriot 
missile - originally designed primarily for 
air defense against jet fighters, not missile 
defense - have proceeded generally on 

Most damaging of all was the decision 
in 1993 to terminate the “Brilliant Pebbles” 
project. This legacy of the original Reagan- 
era “Star Wars” effort had matured to the 
point where it was becoming feasible to 
develop a space-based interceptor capable of 
destroying ballistic missiles in the early or 
middle portion of their flight - far preferable 
than attempting to hit individual warheads 
surrounded by clusters of decoys on their 
final course toward their targets. But since a 
space-based system would violate the ABM 
Treaty, the administration killed the 
“Brilliant Pebbles” program, choosing 
instead to proceed with a ground-based 
interceptor and radar system - one that will 
be costly without being especially effective. 

While there is an argument to be made 
for “terminal” ground-based interceptors as 
an element in a larger architecture of missile 
defenses, it deserves the lowest rather than 
the first priority. The first element in any 
missile defense network should be a galaxy 
of surveillance satellites with sensors 
capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles 
immediately upon launch. Once a missile is 
tracked and targeted, this information needs 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

to be instantly disseminated through a 
world-wide command-and-control system, 
including direct links to interceptors. To 
address the special problems of theater- 
range ballistic missiles, theater-level 
defenses should be layered as well. In 
addition to space-based systems, these 
theater systems should include both land- 
and sea-based interceptors, to allow for 
deployment to trouble spots to reinforce 
theater systems already in place or to cover 
gaps where no defenses exist. In addition, 
they should be “two-tiered,” providing 
close-in “point defense” of valuable targets 
and forces as well as upper-level, “theater¬ 
wide” coverage. 

Current programs could provide the 
necessary density for a layered approach to 
theater missile defense, although funding for 
each component has been inadequate, 
especially for 
the upper-tier, 
sea based 
effort, known 
as the Navy 

Point defense 
is to be 
provided by 
the Patriot 

Level 3, or PAC-3 version of the Patriot air 
defense missile and by the Navy Area 
Defense system, likewise an upgrade of the 
current Standard air defense missile and the 
Aegis radar system. Both systems are on the 
verge of being deployed. 

These lower-tier defenses, though they 
will be capable of providing protection 
against the basic Scuds and Scud variants 
that comprise the arsenals of most American 
adversaries today, are less effective against 
longer-range, higher-velocity missiles that 
several states have under development. 
Moreover, they will be less effective against 
missiles with more complex warheads or 
those that break apart, as many Iraqi 

modified Scuds did during the Gulf War. 
And finally, point defenses, even when they 
successfully intercept an incoming missile, 
may not offset the effects against weapons 
of mass destruction. 

Thus the requirement for upper-tier, 
theater-wide defenses like the Army’s 
Theater High Altitude Area Defense 
(THAAD) and the Navy Theater-Wide 
systems. Though housed in a Patriot-like 
launcher, THAAD is an entirely new system 
designed to intercept medium-range ballistic 
missiles earlier in their flight, in the so- 
called “mid-course.” The Navy Theater- 
Wide system is based upon the Aegis 
system, with an upgraded radar and higher- 
velocity - though intentionally slowed down 
to meet administration concerns over 
violating the ABM Treaty - version of the 
Standard missile. The THAAD system has 
enjoyed recent test success, but development 
of the Navy Theater-Wide system has been 
hampered by lack of funds. Similarly, a 
fifth component of a theater-wide network 
of ballistic missile defenses, the Air Force’s 
airborne laser project, has suffered from 
insufficient funding. This system, which 
mounts a high energy laser in a 747 aircraft, 
is designed to intercept theater ballistic 
missiles in their earliest, or “boost” phase, 
when they are most vulnerable. 

To maximize their effectiveness, these 
theater-level interceptors should receive 
continuous targeting information directly 
from a global constellation of satellites 
carrying infrared sensors capable of 
detecting ballistic missile launches as they 
happen. The low-earth-orbit tier of the 
Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS Low), 
now under development by the Air Force, 
will provide continuous observations of 
ballistic missiles in the boost, midcourse and 
reentry phases of attack. Current missile 
tracking radars can see objects only above 
the horizon and must be placed in friendly 
territory; consequently, they are most 
effective only in the later phases of a 
ballistic missile’s flight. SBIRS Low, 
however, can see a hostile missile earlier in 

The Clinton 
adherence to the 
1972 ABM 
Treaty has 
development of 
useful ballistic 
missile defenses. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

its trajectory, increasing times for inter¬ 
ception and multiplying the effectiveness of 
theater-range interceptors by cueing their 
radars with targeting data. It will also 
provide precise launch-point information, 
allowing theater forces a better chance to 
destroy hostile launchers before more 
missiles can be fired. There is also a SBIRS 
High project, but both SBIRS programs 
have suffered budget cuts that are to delay 
their deployments by two years. 

But to be most effective, this array 
global reconnaissance and targeting 
satellites should be linked to a global 
network of space-based interceptors (or 
space-based lasers). In fact, it is misleading 
to think of such a system as a “national” 
missile defense system, for it would be a 
vital element in theater defenses, protecting 
U.S. allies or expeditionary forces abroad 
from longer-range theater weapons. This is 
why the Bush Administration’s missile 
defense architecture, which is almost 
identical to the network described above, 
was called Global Protection Against 
Limited Strikes (GPALS). By contrast, the 
Clinton Administration’s plan to develop 
limited national missile defenses based upon 
Minuteman III missiles fitted with a so- 
called “exoatmospheric kill vehicle” is the 
most technologically challenging, most 
expensive, and least effective form of long- 
range ballistic missile defense. Indeed, the 
Clinton Administration’s differentiation 
between theater and national missile defense 
systems is yet another legacy of the ABM 
Treaty, one that does not fit the current 
strategic circumstances. Moreover, by 
differentiating between national and theater 
defenses, current plans drive a wedge 
between the United States and its allies, and 
risk “decoupling.” Conversely, American 
interests will diverge from those of our allies 
if theater defenses can protect our friends 
and forces abroad, but the American people 
at home remain threatened. 

In the post-Cold War era, America and 
its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have 
become the primary objects of deterrence 

and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North 
Korea who most wish to develop deterrent 
capabilities. Projecting conventional 
military forces or simply asserting political 
influence abroad, particularly in times of 
crisis, will be far more complex and 
constrained when the American homeland or 
the territory of our allies is subject to attack 
by otherwise weak rogue regimes capable of 
cobbling together a miniscule ballistic 
missile force. Building an effective, robust, 
layered, global system of missile defenses is 
a prerequisite for maintaining American 

Space and Cyberspace 

No system of missile defenses can be 
fully effective without placing sensors and 
weapons in space. Although this would 
appear to be creating a potential new theater 
of warfare, in fact space has been militarized 
for the better part of four decades. Weather, 
communications, navigation and 
reconnaissance satellites are increasingly 
essential elements in American military 
power. Indeed, U.S. armed forces are 
uniquely dependent upon space. As the 
1996 Joint Strategy Review, a precursor to 
the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, 
concluded, “Space is already inextricably 
linked to military operations on land, on the 
sea, and in the air.” The report of the 
National Defense Panel agreed: 

“Unrestricted use of space has become a 
major strategic interest of the United 

Given the advantages U.S. armed forces 
enjoy as a result of this unrestricted use of 
space, it is shortsighted to expect potential 
adversaries to refrain from attempting to 
offset to disable or offset U.S. space 
capabilities. And with the proliferation of 
space know-how and related technology 
around the world, our adversaries will 
inevitably seek to enjoy many of the same 
space advantages in the future. Moreover, 
“space commerce” is a growing part of the 
global economy. In 1996, commercial 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

launches exceeded military launches in the 
United States, and commercial revenues 
exceeded government expenditures on 
space. Today, more than 1,100 commercial 
companies across more than 50 countries are 
developing, building, and operating space 

Many of these commercial space 
systems have direct military applications, 
including information from global 
positioning system constellations and better- 
than-one-meter resolution imaging satellites. 
Indeed, 95 percent of current U.S. military 
communications are carried over 
commercial circuits, including commercial 
communications satellites. The U.S. Space 
Command foresees that in the coming 

an adversary will have sophisticated 
regional situational awareness. 

Enemies may very well know, in near- 
real time, the disposition of all 
forces....In fact, national military 
forces, paramilitary units, terrorists, 
and any other potential adversaries will 
share the high ground of space with the 
United States and its allies. 

Adversaries may also share the same 
commercial satellite services for 
communications, imagery, and 
navigation....The space “playingfield” 
is leveling rapidly, so U.S. forces will 
be increasingly vulnerable. Though 
adversaries will benefit greatly from 
space, losing the use of space may be 
more devastating to the United States. 

It would be intolerable for U.S. be deprived of capabilities in 

In short, the unequivocal supremacy in 
space enjoyed by the United States today 
will be increasingly at risk. As Colin Gray 
and John Sheldon have written, “Space 
control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an 
optional extra.” For U.S. armed forces to 
continue to assert military preeminence, 
control of space - defined by Space 
Command as “the ability to assure access to 
space, freedom of operations within the 

space medium, and an ability to deny others 
the use of space” - must be an essential 
element of our military strategy. If America 
cannot maintain that control, its ability to 
conduct global military operations will be 
severely complicated, far more costly, and 
potentially fatally compromised. 

As exemplified by the Global 
Positioning Satellite above, space 
has become a new ‘international 
commons’ where commercial and 
security interests are intertwined. 

The complexity of space control will 
only grow as commercial activity increases. 
American and other allied investments in 
space systems will create a requirement to 
secure and protect these space assets; they 
are already an important measure of 
American power. Yet it will not merely be 
enough to protect friendly commercial uses 
of space. As Space Command also 
recognizes, the United States must also have 
the capability to deny America's adversaries 
the use of commercial space platforms for 
military purposes in times of crises and 
conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become 
the new “international commons,” where 
commercial and security interests are 
intertwined and related. Just as Alfred 
Thayer Mahan wrote about “sea-power” at 
the beginning of the 20th century in this 
sense, American strategists will be forced to 
regard “space-power” in the 21st. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

To ensure America's control of space in 
the near term, the minimum requirements 
are to develop a robust capability to 
transport systems to space, carry on 
operations once there, and service and 
recover space systems as needed. As 
outlined by Space Command, carrying out 
this program would include a mix of re- 
useable and expendable launch vehicles and 
vehicles that can operate within space, 
including “space tugs to deploy, 
reconstitute, replenish, refurbish, augment, 
and sustain" space systems. But, over the 
longer term, 
control of 
space will 
require the 
of force both 
in space and 
from space, 
including but 
not limited 
to anti¬ 
defenses and 

capable of protecting U.S. and allied 
satellites; space control cannot be sustained 
in any other fashion, with conventional land, 
sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare. 
This eventuality is already recognized by 
official U.S. national space policy, which 
states that the “Department of Defense shall 
maintain a capability to execute the mission 
areas of space support, force enhancement, 
space control and force application .” 
(Emphasis added.) 

In sum, the ability to preserve American 
military preeminence in the future will rest 
in increasing measure on the ability to 
operate in space militarily; both the 
requirements for effective global missile 
defenses and projecting global conventional 
military power demand it. Unfortunately, 
neither the Clinton Administration nor past 
U.S. defense reviews have established a 

coherent policy and program for achieving 
this goal. 

Ends and Means of Space Control 

As with defense spending more broadly, 
the state of U.S. “space forces” - the 
systems required to ensure continued access 
and eventual control of space - has 
deteriorated over the past decade, and few 
new initiatives or programs are on the 
immediate horizon. The U.S. approach to 
space has been one of dilatory drift. As 
Gen. Richard Myers, commander-in-chief of 
SPACECOM, put it, “Our Cold War-era 
capabilities have atrophied,” even though 
those capabilities are still important today. 
And while Space Command has a clear 
vision of what must be done in space, it 
speaks equally clearly about “the question of 
resources.” As the command succinctly 
notes its long-range plan: “When we match 
the reality of space dependence against 
resource trends, we find a problem.” 

But in addition to the problem of lack of 
resources, there is an institutional problem. 
Indeed, some of the difficulties in 
maintaining U.S. military space supremacy 
result from the bureaucratic “black hole” 
that prevents the SPACECOM vision from 
gaining the support required to carry it out. 
For one, U.S. military space planning 
remains linked to the ups and downs of the 
National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration. America’s difficulties in 
reducing the cost of space launches - 
perhaps the single biggest hurdle to 
improving U.S. space capabilities overall - 
result in part from the requirements and 
dominance of NASA programs over the past 
several decades, most notably the space 
shuttle program. Secondly, within the 
national security bureaucracy, the majority 
of space investment decisions are made by 
the National Reconnaissance Office and the 
Air Force, neither of which considers 
military operations outside the earth's 
atmosphere as a primary mission. And there 
is no question that in an era of tightened 

In the future, it 
will be necessary 
to unite the 
vision for control 
of space to the 
and interests of a 
separate military 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

budgets, investments in space-control 
capabilities have suffered for lack of 
institutional support and have been squeezed 
out by these organization’s other priorities. 
Although, under the Goldwater-Nichols 
reforms of the mid-1980s, the unified 
commanders - of which SPACECOM is one 
- have a greater say in Pentagon 
programming and budgeting, these powers 
remain secondary to the traditional “raise- 
and-train” powers of the separate services. 

Therefore, over the long haul, it will be 
necessary to unite the essential elements of 
the current SPACECOM vision to the 
resource-allocation and institution-building 
responsibilities of a military service. In 
addition, it is almost certain that the conduct 
of warfare in outer space will differ as much 
from traditional air warfare as air warfare 
has from warfare at sea or on land; space 
warfare will demand new organizations, 
operational strategies, doctrines and training 
schemes. Thus, the argument to replace 
U.S. Space Command with U.S. Space 
Forces - a separate service under the 
Defense Department - is compelling. While 
it is conceivable that, as military space 
capabilities develop, a transitory “Space 
Corps” under the Department of the Air 
Force might make sense, it ought to be 
regarded as an intermediary step, analogous 
to the World War Il-era Army Air Corps, 
not to the Marine Corps, which remains a 
part of the Navy Department. If space 
control is an essential element for 
maintaining American military preeminence 
in the decades to come, then it will be 
imperative to reorganize the Department of 
Defense to ensure that its institutional 
structure reflects new military realities. 

Cyberpace, or ‘Net-War’ 

If outer space represents an emerging 
medium of warfare, then “cyberspace,” and 
in particular the Internet hold similar 
promise and threat. And as with space, 
access to and use of cyberspace and the 
Internet are emerging elements in global 

commerce, politics and power. Any nation 
wishing to assert itself globally must take 
account of this other new “global 

The Internet is also playing an 
increasingly important role in warfare and 
human political conflict. From the early use 
of the Internet by Zapatista insurgents in 
Mexico to the war in Kosovo, communi¬ 
cation by computer has added a new 
dimension to warfare. Moreover, the use of 
the Internet to spread computer viruses 
reveals how easy it can be to disrupt the 
normal functioning of commercial and even 
military computer networks. Any nation 
which cannot assure the free and secure 
access of its citizens to these systems will 
sacrifice an element of its sovereignty and 
its power. 

Although many concepts of “cyber-war” 
have elements of science fiction about them, 
and the role of the Defense Department in 
establishing “control,” or even what 
“security” on the Internet means, requires a 
consideration of a host of legal, moral and 
political issues, there nonetheless will 
remain an imperative to be able to deny 
America and its allies' enemies the ability to 
disrupt or paralyze either the military's or 
the commercial sector's computer networks. 
Conversely, an offensive capability could 
offer America's military and political leaders 
an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary 
in a decisive manner. 

Taken together, the prospects for space 
war or “cyberspace war” represent the truly 
revolutionary potential inherent in the notion 
of military transformation. These future 
forms of warfare are technologically 
immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear 
that for the U.S. armed forces to remain 
preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in 
the exercise of its power they must be sure 
that these potential future forms of warfare 
favor America just as today’s air, land and 
sea warfare reflect United States military 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Transforming U.S. 

Conventional Forces 

Much has been written in recent years 
about the need to transform the conventional 
armed forces of the United States to take 
advantage of the “revolution in military 
affairs,” the process of transformation within 
the Defense Department has yet to bear 
serious fruit. The two visions of 
transformation promulgated by the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff - Joint Vision 2010 and the 
just-released Joint Vision 2020 - have been 
broad statements of principles and of 
commitment to transformation, but very 
little change can be seen in the acquisition of 
new weapons systems. Indeed, new ideas 
like the so-called “arsenal ship” which might 
actually have accelerated the process of 

transformation have been opposed and seen 
their programs terminated by the services. 
Neither does the current process of “joint 
experimentation” seem likely to speed the 
process of change. In sum, the transfor¬ 
mation of the bulk of U.S. armed forces has 
been stalled. Until the process of transfor¬ 
mation is treated as an enduring mission - 
worthy of a constant allocation of dollars 
and forces - it will remain stillborn. 

There are some very good reasons why 
this is so. In an era of insufficient defense 
resources, it has been necessary to fund or 
staff any efforts at transformation by short¬ 
changing other, more immediate, require¬ 
ments. Consequently, the attempt to deal 
with the longer-term risks that a failure to 
transform U.S. armed forces will create has 



Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

threatened to raise the risks those forces face 
today; this is an unpleasant dilemma for a 
force straining to meet the burdens of its 
current missions. Activity today tends to 
drive out innovation for tomorrow. Second, 
the lack of an immediate military competitor 
contributes to a sense of complacency about 
the extent and duration of American military 
dominance. Third, and perhaps most telling, 
the process of transformation has yet to be 
linked to the strategic tasks necessary to 
maintain American military dominance. 

This is in part a problem for transformation 
enthusiasts, who are better at forecasting 
technological developments than aligning 
those technological developments with the 
requirements for American preeminence. 
Thus consideration of the so-called “anti¬ 
access problem” - the observation that the 
proliferation of long-range, precision-strike 
capabilities will complicate the projection of 
U.S. military power and forces - has 
proceeded without much discussion of the 
strategic effects on U.S. allies and American 
credibility of increased reliance on weapons 
and forces based in the United States rather 
than operating from forward locations. 

There may be many solutions to the anti¬ 
access problem, but only a few that will tend 
to maintain rather than dilute American 
geopolitical leadership. 

Further, transformation advocates tend 
to focus on the nature of revolutionary new 
capabilities rather than how to achieve the 
necessary transformation: thus the National 
Defense Panel called for a strategy of 
transformation without formulating a 
strategy for transformation. There has been 
little discussion of exactly how to change 
today’s force into tomorrow’s force, while 
maintaining U.S. military preeminence 
along the way. Therefore, it will be 
necessary to undertake a two-stage process 
of transition - whereby today’s “legacy” 
forces are modified and selectively 
modernized with new systems readily 
available - and true transformation - when 
the results of vigorous experimentation 
introduce radically new weapons, concepts 

of operation, and organization to the armed 

This two-stage process is likely to take 
several decades. Yet, although the precise 
shape and direction of the transformation of 
U.S. armed forces remains a matter for 
rigorous experimentation and analysis (and 
will be discussed in more detail below in the 
section on the armed services), it is possible 
to foresee the general characteristics of the 
current revolution in military affairs. 

Broadly speaking, these cover several 
principal areas of capabilities: 

• Improved situational awareness and 

sharing of information, 

• Range and endurance of platforms 

and weapons, 

• Precision and miniaturization, 

• Speed and stealth, 

• Automation and simulation. 

These characteristics will be combined 
in various ways to produce new military 
capabilities. New classes of sensors - 
commercial and military; on land, on and 
under sea, in the air and in space - will be 
linked together in dense networks that can 
be rapidly configured and reconfigured to 
provide future commanders with an 
unprecedented understanding of the 
battlefield. Communications networks will 
be equally if not more ubiquitous and dense, 
capable of carrying vast amounts of 
information securely to provide widely 
dispersed and diverse units with a common 
picture of the battlefield. Conversely, 
stealth techniques will be applied more 
broadly, creating “hider-finder” games of 
cat-and-mouse between sophisticated 
military forces. The proliferation of ballistic 
and cruise missiles and long-range 
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make 
it much easier to project military power 
around the globe. Munitions themselves 
will become increasingly accurate, while 
new methods of attack - electronic, “non- 
lethal,” biological - will be more widely 
available. Low-cost, long-endurance UAVs, 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

and even unattended “missiles in a box” will 
allow not only for long-range power projec¬ 
tion but for sustained power projection. 
Simulation technologies will vastly improve 
military training and mission planning. 

Although it may take several decades 
for the process of transformation to unfold, 
in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and 
sea will be vastly different than it is today, 
and “combat” likely will take place in new 
dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and 
perhaps the world of microbes. Air warfare 
may no longer be fought by pilots manning 
tactical fighter aircraft sweeping the skies of 
opposing fighters, but a regime dominated 
by long-range, stealthy unmanned craft. On 
land, the clash of massive, combined-arms 
armored forces may be replaced by the 
dashes of much lighter, stealthier and 
information-intensive forces, augmented by 
fleets of robots, some small enough to fit in 
soldiers’ pockets. Control of the sea could 
be largely determined not by fleets of 
surface combatants and aircraft carriers, but 
from land- and space-based systems, forcing 
navies to maneuver and fight underwater. 
Space itself will become a theater of war, as 
nations gain access to space capabilities and 
come to rely on them; further, the distinction 
between military and commercial space 
systems - combatants and noncombatants - 
will become blurred. Information systems 
will become an important focus of attack, 
particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to 
short-circuit sophisticated American forces. 
And advanced forms of biological warfare 
that can “target” specific genotypes may 
transform biological warfare from the realm 
of terror to a politically useful tool. 

This is merely a glimpse of the possi¬ 
bilities inherent in the process of transfor¬ 
mation, not a precise prediction. Whatever 
the shape and direction of this revolution in 
military affairs, the implications for con¬ 
tinued American military preeminence will 
be profound. As argued above, there are 
many reasons to believe that U.S. forces 
already possess nascent revolutionary capa¬ 
bilities, particularly in the realms of intel¬ 

ligence, command and control, and long- 
range precision strikes. Indeed, these capa¬ 
bilities are sufficient to allow the armed 
services to begin an “interim,” short- to 
medium-term process of transformation 
right away, creating new force designs and 
operational concepts - designs and concepts 
different than those contemplated by the 
current defense program - to maximize the 
capabilities that already exist. But these 
must be viewed as merely a way-station 
toward a more thoroughgoing transfor¬ 

The individual services also need to be 
given greater bureaucratic and legal standing 
if they are to achieve these goals. Though a 
full discussion of this issue is outside the 
purview of this study, the reduced impor¬ 
tance of the civilian secretaries of the mili¬ 
tary departments and the service chiefs of 
staff is increasingly inappropriate to the 

demands of a 

changing tech¬ 
strategic and 

The central¬ 
ization of 
power under 
the Office of 
the Secretary 
of Defense and 
chairman of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Joint Staff, and 
the increased role of the theater comman- 
ders-in-chief, products of Cold-War-era 
defense reforms and especially the Gold- 
water-Nichols Act of 1986, have created a 
process of defense decision-making that 
often elevates immediate concerns above 
long-term needs. In an era of uncertainty 
and transformation, it is more important to 
foster competing points of view about the 
how to apply new technologies to enduring 

This is especially debilitating to the 
process of transformation, which has 

Until the process 
of transformation 
is treated as an 
enduring military 
mission - worthy 
of a constant 
allocation of 
dollars and forces 
- it will remain 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

become infected with a “lowest common 
denominator” approach. “Jointness” 
remains an important dimension of U.S. 
military power and it will be necessary to 
consider the joint role of the weapons, 
concepts of operations and organizations 
created through the process of transfor¬ 
mation. The capability for seamless and 
decisive joint operations is an important 
aspect of warfare. Yet, the process of 
transformation will be better served by 
fostering a spirit of service competition and 
experimentation. At this early stage of 
transformation, it is unclear which 
technologies will prove most effective; 
better to undertake a variety of competing 
experiments, even though some may prove 
to be dead-ends. To achieve this goal, 
service institutions and prerogatives must be 
strengthened to restore a better balance 
within the Depar tment of Defense. The 
essential first step is to rebuild service 
secretariats to attract highly talented people 
who enjoy the political trust of the 
administration they serve. A parallel second 
step is to reinvigorate the service staffs and 
to select energetic service chiefs of staff. At 
a time of rapid change, American military 
preeminence is more likely to be sustained 
through a vigorous competition for missions 
and resources than through a bureaucracy - 
and a conception of “jointness” - defined at 
the very height of the Cold War. 

Toward a 21 st Century Army 

There is very little question that the 
development of new technologies increas¬ 
ingly will make massed, mechanized armies 
vulnerable in high-intensity wars against 
sophisticated forces. The difficulty of 
moving large formations in open terrain, 
even at night - suggested during the battle of 
Khafji during the Gulf War - has diminished 
the role of tank armies in the face of the kind 
of firepower and precision that American air 
power can bring to bear. This is an undeni¬ 
able change in the nature of advanced land 
warfare, a change that will alter the size, 
structure and nature of the U.S. Army. 

Yet the United States would be unwise 
to accept the larger proposition that the 
strategic value of land power has been 
eroded to the point where the nation no 
longer needs to maintain large ground 
forces. As long as wars and other military 
operations derive their logic from political 
purposes, land power will remain the truly 
decisive form of military power. Indeed, it 
is ironic that, as post-Cold-War military 
operations have become more sophisticated 
and more reliant on air power and long- 
range strikes, they have become less 
politically decisive. American military 
preeminence will continue to rest in 
significant part on the ability to maintain 
sufficient land forces to achieve political 
goals such as removing a dangerous and 
hostile regime when necessary. Thus, 
future Army forces - and land forces more 
broadly - must devise ways to survive and 
maneuver in a radically changed 
technological environment. The Army must 
become more tactically agile, more 
operationally mobile, and more strategically 
deployable. It must increasingly rely on 
other services to concentrate firepower when 
required, while concentrating on its “core 
competencies” of maneuver, situational 
awareness, and political decisiveness. In 
particular the process of Army transfor¬ 
mation should: 

• Move ahead with experiments to 
create new kinds of independent units 
using systems now entering final 
development and early procurement - 
such as the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft 
and the HIMARS light-weight rocket 
artillery system - capable of longer- 
range operations and self¬ 
deployments. Once mature, such 
units would replace forward-based 
heavy forces. 

• Experiment vigorously to understand 
the long-term implications of the 
revolution in military affairs for land 
forces. In particular, the Army 
should develop ways to deploy and 
maneuver against adversaries with 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

improved long-range strike 


As argued above, the two-stage process 
of transforming the U.S. armed forces is 
sufficiently important to consider it a sep¬ 
arate mission for the military services and 
for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The need for 
both the near-term and long-term transfor¬ 
mation requires that a separate organization 
within these institutions act as the advocate 
and agent of revolutionary change. For the 
U.S. Army, the appropriate home for the 
transformation process is the Training and 
Doctrine Command. The service needs to 
establish a permanent unit under its Com¬ 
bined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, 
Kansas to oversee the process of research, 
development and experi-mentation required 
to transform today’s Army into the Army of 
the future. 

With the need to field the independent, 
combined-arms units described above, this 
“transformation laboratory” must be estab¬ 
lished as rapidly as possible. Although 
many of the weapons systems already exist 
or are readily available, the introduction of 
new systems such as an armored gun sys¬ 
tem, wheeled personnel carrier such as the 
Light Armored Vehicle or the FIIMARS 
rocket artillery system in sufficient numbers 
will take several years. Further, the process 
of “digitization” - the proliferation of infor¬ 
mation and communications in tactical units 
- must be accelerated. Finally, the Army 
needs to increase its investment in selected 
new systems such as UAVs and the Coman¬ 
che scout helicopter to field them more 
rapidly. These will need to be integrated 
into a coherent organization and doctrinal 
concept. The process of near-term experi¬ 
mentation needs to be sharply focused on 
meeting the Army’s near- and mid-term 
needs, and to produce the new kinds of units 

Yet this initial process of transformation 
must be just the first step toward a more 
radical reconfiguring of the Army. Even 
while the Army is fielding new units that 

maximize current capabilities and introduce 
selected new systems, and understanding the 
challenges and opportunities of information¬ 
intensive operations, it must begin to seek 
answers to fundamental questions about fu¬ 
ture land forces. These questions include is¬ 
sues of strategic deployability, how to ma¬ 
neuver on increasingly transparent battle¬ 
fields and how to operate in urban environ¬ 
ments, to name but a few. If the first phase 
of transformation requires the better paid of 
the next decade to complete, the Army must 
then be ready to begin to implement more 
far-reaching changes. Moreover, the 
technologies, operational concepts and 
organizations must be relatively mature - 
they can not merely exist as briefing charts 
or laboratory concepts. As the first phase of 
transformation winds down, initial field 
experiments for this second and more 
profound phase of change must begin. 

While the exact scope and nature of 
such change is a matter for experimentation, 
Army studies already suggest that it will be 
dramatic. Consider just the potential 
changes that might effect the infantryman. 
Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, 
climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, 
laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon¬ 
like “active” camouflage. “Skin-patch” 
pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus 
concentration and enhance endurance and 
strength. A display mounted on a soldier’s 
helmet permits a comprehensive view of the 
battlefield - in effect to look around corners 
and over hills - and allows the soldier to 
access the entire combat information and 
intelligence system while filtering incoming 
data to prevent overload. Individual 
weapons are more lethal, and a soldier’s 
ability to call for highly precise and reliable 
indirect fires - not only from Army systems 
but those of other services - allows each 
individual to have great influence over huge 
spaces. Under the “Land Warrior” program, 
some Army experts envision a “squad” of 
seven soldiers able to dominate an area the 
size of the Gettysburg battlefield - where, in 
1863, some 165,000 men fought. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Even radical 
concepts such as those 
con-sidered under the 
“Land Warrior” project 
do not involve out¬ 
landish technologies or 
flights of science 
fiction. Many already 
exist today, and many 
follow developments in 
civilian medical, communications, infor¬ 
mation science and other fields of research. 
While initiating the process of transfor¬ 
mation in the near term, and while fielding 
new kinds of units to meet current missions, 
the Army must simultaneously invest and 
experiment vigorously to create the systems, 
soldiers, units and concepts to maintain 
American preeminence in land combat for 
the longer-term future. 

The Army’s 
will greatly 
increase the 
value of 

Global Strikes from Air and Space 

The rapidly growing ability of the U.S. 
Air Force to conduct precision strikes, over 
increasingly greater range, marks a 
significant change in the nature of high- 
technology warfare. From the Gulf War 
through the air war for Kosovo, the 
sophistication of Air Force precision 
bombing has continued to grow. Yet, 

ironically, as the Air Force seems to achieve 
the capabilities first dreamt of by the great 
pioneers and theorists of air power, the 
“technological moment” of manned aircraft 
may be entering a sunset phase. In 
retrospect, it is the sophistication of highly 
accurate munitions in the Kosovo campaign 
that stands out - even as the stealthy B-2 
bomber was delivering satellite-guided 
bombs on 30-hour round-trip missions from 
Missouri to the Balkans and back, so was 
the Navy’s ancient, slow, propeller-driven 
P-3 Orion aircraft, originally designed for 
submarine hunting, delivering precision- 
guided standoff weapons with much the 
same effectiveness. As the relative value of 
electronic systems and precision munitions 
increases, the need for advanced manned 
aircraft appears to be lessening. Moreover, 
as the importance of East Asia grows in U.S. 
military strategy, the requirements for range 
and endurance may outweigh traditional 
measures of aircraft performance. In sum, 
although the U.S. Air Force is enjoying a 
moment of technological and tactical 
supremacy, it is uncertain that the service is 
positioning itself well for a transformed 

In particular, the Air Force’s emphasis 
on traditional, tactical air operations is 
handicapping the nation’s ability to maintain 
and extend its dominance in space. Over the 
past decade, the Air Force has intermittently 
styled itself as a “space and air force,” and 
has prepared a number of useful long-range 
studies that underscore the centrality of 
space control in future military operations. 
Yet the service’s pattern of investments has 
belied such an understanding of the future; 
as described above, the Air Force has 
ploughed every available dollar into the F- 
22 program. While the F-22 is a superb 
fighter and perhaps a workable strike 
aircraft, its value under a transformed 
paradigm of high-technology warfare may 
exceed its cost - had not the majority of the 
F-22 program already been paid for, the 
decision to proceed with the project today 
would have been dubious. As also argued 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

above, further investments in the Joint Strike 
Fighter program would be more expensive 
still and would forestall any major 
transformation efforts. Therefore, the Air 
Force should: 

• Complete its planned F-22 
procurement while terminating its 
participation in the JSF program and 
upgrading the capabilities of existing 
tactical aircraft, especially by 
purchasing additional precision 
munitions and developing new ones 
and increasing numbers of support 
aircraft to allow for longer-range 
operations and greater survivability; 

• Increase efforts to develop long-range 
and high-endurance unmanned aerial 
vehicles, not merely for 
reconnaissance but for strike and 
even air-combat missions; 

• Pursue the development of large¬ 
bodied stealthy aircraft for a variety 
of roles, including lift, refueling, and 
other support missions as well as 
strike missions. 

• Target significant new investments 
toward creating capabilities for 
operating in space, including 
inexpensive launch vehicles, new 
satellites and transatmospheric 
vehicles, in preparation for a decision 
as to whether space warfare is 
sufficiently different from combat 
within earth’s atmosphere so as to 
require a separate “space service.” 

Such a transformation would in fact 
better realize the Air Force’s stated goal of 
becoming a service with true global reach 
and global strike capabilities. At the 
moment, today’s Air Force gives a glimpse 
of such capabilities, and does a remarkable 
job of employing essentially tactical systems 
in a world-wide fashion. And, for the period 
of transition mandated by these legacy 
systems and by the limitations inherent in 

the F-22, the Air Force will remain primarily 
capable of sophisticated theater-strike 
warfare. Yet to truly transform itself for the 
coming century, the Air Force must 
accelerate its efforts to create the new 
systems - and, to repeat, the space-based 
systems - that are necessary to shift the 
scope of air operations from the theater level 
to the global level. While mounting large- 
scale and sustained air campaigns will 
continue to rely heavily upon in-theater 
assets, a greater balance must be placed on 
long-range systems. 

The Navy Returns ‘To the Sea’ 

Since the end of the Cold War, the Navy 
has made a dramatic break with past 
doctrine, which emphasized the need to 
establish control of the sea. But with 
American control of the “international 
commons” without serious challenge - for 
the moment - the Navy now preaches the 
gospel of power projection ashore and 
operations in littoral waters. In a series of 
posture statements and white papers 
beginning with “...From the Sea” in 1992 
and leading to 1998’s “Forward.. .from the 
Sea: Anytime, Anywhere,” the Navy, in 
cooperation with the Marine Corps, 
embraced this view of close-in operations; to 
quote the original “From the Sea:” 

Our ability to command the seas in 
areas where we anticipate future 
operations allows us to resize our Naval 
Forces and to concentrate more on 
capabilities required in the complex 
operating environment of the “littoral” 
or coastlines of the earth....This 
strategic direction, derived from the 
National Security Strategy, represents a 
fundamental shift away from open- 
ocean warfighting on the sea—toward 
joint operations conducted from the sea. 

The “From the Sea” series also has 
made the case for American military 
presence around the world and equated this 
forward presence specifically with naval 
presence. Following the lead of the 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy and 
Marine Corps argue that “shaping and 
responding require presence - maintaining 
forward-deployed, combat-ready naval 
forces. Being ‘on-scene’ matters! It is and 
will remain a distinctly naval contribution to 
peacetime engagement.. ..The inherent 
flexibility of naval forces allows a minor 
crisis or conflict to be resolved quickly be 
on-scene forces.” The sea services further 
have argued that the conduct of these 
presence missions requires the same kinds of 
carrier battle groups and amphibious ready 
groups that were needed to fight the Soviet 

The balanced, concentrated striking 
power of aircraft carrier battle groups 
and amphibious ready groups lies at the 
heart of our nation’s ability to execute 
its strategy of peacetime engagement. 
Their power reassures allies and deters 
would-be aggressors....The combined 
capabilities of a carrier battle group 
and an amphibious ready group offer 
air, sea, and land power that can be 
applied across the full spectrum of 

Thus, while the Navy admitted that the 
strategic realities of the post-Soviet era 
called for a reordering of sea service mission 
priorities and a resizing of the fleet, it has 
yet to consider that the new era also requires 
a reorientation of its pattern of operations 
and a reshaping of the fleet. Moreover, over 
the longer term, the Navy’s ability to operate 
in littoral waters is going to be increasingly 
difficult, as the Navy itself realizes. As Rear 
Adm. Malcolm Fages, director of the Navy’s 
submarine warfare division, told the Senate 
Armed Services Committee, “A variety of 
independent studies reviewing key trends in 
future naval warfare have concluded that 
21 st century littoral warfare could be marked 
by the use of asymmetrical means to counter 
a U.S. Navy whose doctrine and force 
structure projects.. .power ashore from the 
littorals.” Already potential adversaries 
from China to Iran are investing in quiet 
diesel submarines, tactical ballistic missiles, 
cruise and other shore- and sea-launched 

anti-ship missiles, and other weapons that 
will complicate the operations of U.S. fleets 
in restricted, littoral waters. The Chinese 
navy has just recently taken delivery of the 
first of several planned Sovremenny class 
destroyers, purchased along with supersonic, 
anti-ship cruise missiles from Russia, greatly 
improving China’s ability to attack U.S. 
Navy ships. 

China’s acquisition of modern Russian 
destroyers and supersonic anti-ship 
cruise missiles will complicate U.S. 
surface fleet operations. 

In addition, America’s adversaries will 
gradually acquire the ability to target surface 
fleets, not only in littoral waters but perhaps 
on the open oceans. Regional powers have 
increasing access to commercial satellites 
that not only can provide them with 
detection and militarily useful targeting 
information, but provide also important 
elements of the command, control and 
communication capabilities that would be 
needed. As Fages put it, “Of concern in the 
21 st century is the potential that the 
combination of space-based reconnaissance, 
long-range precision strike weapons and 
robust command and control networks could 
make non-stealthy platforms increasingly 
vulnerable to attack near the world’s 

To preserve and enhance the ability to 
project naval power ashore and to conduct 
strike operations - as well as assume a large 
role in the network of ballistic missile 
defense systems - the Navy must accelerate 
the process of near-term transformation. It 
must also addressing the longer-term 
challenge of the revolution in military 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

affairs, to ensure that the America rules the 
waves in the future as it does today. Navy 
transformation should be a two-phase 

• Near-term Navy transformation 
should accelerate the construction of 
planned generations of 21 st century 
surface combatants with increased 
stealth characteristics, improved and 
varied missiles and long-range guns 
for strikes ashore. Efforts to 
implement “network-centric” warfare 
under the cooperative engagement 
concept should be accelerated. The 
Navy should begin to structure itself 
for its emerging role in missile 
defenses, determining, for example, 
whether current surface combatant 
vessels and a traditional rotational 
deployment scheme are apropos for 
this mission. 

• In the longer term, the Navy must 
determine whether its current focus 
on littoral operations can be sustained 
under a transformed paradigm of 
naval warfare and how to retain 
control of open-ocean areas in the 
future. Experiments in operating 
varied fleets of UAVs should begin 
now, perhaps employing a retired 
current carrier. Consideration should 
be directed toward other forms of 
unmanned sea and air vehicles and 
toward an expanded role for 

The shifting pattern of naval operations 
and the changes in force structure outlined 
above also should show the way for a 
transformation of the Navy for the emerging 
environment for war at sea. In the imme¬ 
diate future, this means an improvement in 
naval strike capabilities for joint operations 
in littoral waters and improved command 
and control capabilities. Yet the Navy must 
soon prepare for a renewed challenge on the 
open oceans, beginning now to develop 
ways to project power as the risk to surface 
ships rises substantially. In both cases, the 

Navy should continue to shift away from 
carrier-centered operations to “networks” of 
varied kinds of surface ships, perhaps 
leading to fleets composed of stealthy 
surface ships and submerged vessels. 

The focus of the Navy’s near-term 
transformation efforts should be on 
enhancing its ability to conduct strike 
operations and improving its contributions 
to joint operations on land by patrolling 
littoral waters. The Navy’s initiatives to 
wring the most out of its current vessels 
through the better gathering and distribution 
of information - what the Navy calls 
“network-centric” warfare as opposed to 
“platform-centric” warfare - should be 
accelerated. In addition to improving 
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance 
capabilities and command and control 
networks, the Navy should, as described 
above, acquire larger fleets of surface 
combatants and submarines capable of 
launching cruise missiles. Expanding the 
Navy’s fleet of surface combatants primarily 
should provide an opportunity to speed up 
research and development of the new classes 
of destroyers and cruisers - and perhaps new 
frigates - while perhaps extending only 
modestly current destroyer programs. 

Moreover, the Navy should accelerate 
efforts to develop other strike warfare 
munitions and weapons. In addition to 
procuring greater numbers of attack 
submarines, the Navy should convert four of 
its Trident ballistic missile submarines to 
conventional strike platforms, much as the 
Air Force has done with manned bombers. 
Further, the Navy should develop other 
strike weaponry beyond current-generation 
Tomahawk cruise missiles. Adding the 
Joint Direct Attack Munition - applying 
Global-Positioning-System guidance to 
current “dumb” bombs - will improve the 
precision-strike capabilities of current naval 
aircraft, but improving the range and 
accuracy of naval gunfire, or deploying a 
version of the Army Tactical Missile System 
at sea would also increase the Navy’s 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

contribution to joint warfare in littoral 

However, improving the ability of 
current-generation ships and weapons to 
work together is important, but may not 
address the most fundamental nature of this 
transformation. The Navy has already 
demonstrated the ability to operate 
unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles 
from submarines and is improving its 
abilities to communicate to submarines; as 
long as submerged vessels remain relatively 
stealthy, they may be able to operate where 
surface vessels face high risks. 

Thus, the Navy should devote an 
element of its force structure to a deeper 
investigation of the revolution in military 
affairs. Beyond immediate opportunities 
such as conversion of Trident submarines, 
consideration should be given to employing 
a deactivated 

carrier to better The NilVy 

understand the should consider 

possibilities of 
operating large 
fleets of UAVs at 

using a de¬ 

sea. Likewise, carrier to better 

submerged understand the 

“missile pods,” 
either perma¬ 
nently deployed 
or laid covertly 

possibilities and 
problems of 
operating large 

by submarines in 
times of crisis, 
could increase 

fleets of UAVs 

at. sea. 

strike capabilities without risking surface 
vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the 
Navy is moving toward “network-centric” 
warfare, it should explore ways of 
increasing the number of “nodes on the net.” 

For the moment, the U.S. Navy enjoys a 
level of global hegemony that suipasses that 
of the Royal Navy during its heyday. While 
the ability to project naval power ashore is, 
as it has always been, an important 
subsidiary mission for the Navy, it may not 
remain the service’s primary focus through 
the coming decades. Over the longer term - 

but, given the service life of ships, well 
within the approaching planning horizons of 
the U.S. Navy - the Navy’s focus may 
return again to keeping command of the 
open oceans and sea lines of communi¬ 
cation. Absent a rigorous program of 
experimentation to investigate the nature of 
the revolution in military affairs as it applies 
to war at sea, the Navy might face a future 
Pearl Harbor - as unprepared for war in the 
post-carrier era as it was unprepared for war 
at the dawn of the carrier age. 

As Goes the Navy, So Goes the 
Marine Corps 

Ironically for a service that is embracing 
certain aspects of the revolution in military 
affairs, the long-term pattern of 
transformation poses the deepest questions 
for the Marine Corps. For if the 
survivability of surface vessels increasingly 
will be in doubt, the Marines’ means of 
delivery must likewise come into question. 
Although the Corps is quite right to develop 
faster, longer-range means of ship-to-shore 
operations in the V-22 and Advanced 
Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the potential 
vulnerability of Marine amphibious ships is 
almost certain to become the limiting factor 
in future operations. While the utility of 
Marine infantry in lower-intensity 
operations will remain high, the Marines’ 
ability to con-tribute to high-technology 
wars - at least when operating from the 
ships that they rely on for everything from 
command and communications to logistics - 
may become marginalized. Also, the 
relatively slow speeds of Marine ships limit 
their flexibility in times of crisis. 

Over the next decade, the Marines’ 
efforts toward transformation ought to allow 
the Corps to lighten its structures and rely on 
other services, and especially the Navy, to 
provide much of its firepower. This will 
permit the Marines to shed many of the 
heavy systems acquired during the Cold 
War, to reduce its artillery (the Marines, 
typically, operate the oldest artillery systems 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

that are less effective and efficient in combat 
and more of a logistical burden) and 
eventually its fixed-wing aviation. Indeed, 
many Marine F-18s and EA-6Bs spend the 
bulk of their time on regular aircraft carrier 
rotations and in support of Air Force 
operations. Likewise, the long-term future 
of the AV-8B Harrier is in doubt. The 
Marines operate a relatively small and 
increasingly obsolescent fleet of Harriers; 
while service-life extension programs may 
be possible, the Corps will soon approach 
the day where it must contemplate life 
without fixed-wing air support of its own, 
especially if the Joint Strike Fighter program 
is terminated. Consequently, the Marine 
Corps should consider development of a 
“gunship” version of the V-22 and pursue 
unmanned combat aerial vehicles, as well as 
accelerating its efforts to develop methods 
of joint-service fire support. 

Thus, the long-term utility of the Marine 
Corps rests heavily on the prospects for true 
transformation. As with the Army, if the 
relationship between firepower and 
maneuver and situational awareness cannot 
be redefined, then the relevance of land 
forces and naval infantry in future wars will 
be sharply curtailed - and the ability of the 
United States to undertake politically 
decisive operations will likewise be limited. 
The proliferation of technologies for 
delivering highly accurate fires over 
increasingly great distances poses a great 
challenge for both the Army and the Marine 
Coips, but rather than attempting to compete 
in the game of applying long-range fires, 
both services would be better off attempting 
to complement the vastly improved strike 
capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and 
indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to 
future space capabilities as well. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 


Defense Spending 

What, then, is the price of continued 
American geopolitical leadership and 
military preeminence? 

A finely detailed answer is beyond the 
scope of this study. Too many of the force 
posture and service structure recommen¬ 
dations above involve factors that current 
defense planning has not accounted for. 
Suffice it to say that an expanded American 
security perimeter, new technologies and 
weapons systems including robust missile 
defenses, new kinds of organizations and 
operating concepts, new bases and the like 
will not come cheap. Nonetheless, this 
section will attempt to establish broad guide¬ 
lines for a level of defense spending suf¬ 
ficient to maintain America military pre¬ 
eminence. In recent years, a variety of 
analyses of the mismatch between the 
Clinton Administration’s proposed defense 
budgets and defense program have appeared. 
The estimates all agree that the Clinton 
program is underfunded; the differences lie 
in gauging the amount of the shortage and 
range from about $26 billion annually to 
$100 billion annually, with the higher 
numbers representing the more rigorous 

Trends in Defense Spending 

For the first time in 15 years, the 2001 
defense budget may reflect a modest real 
increase in U.S. defense spending. Both 
President Clinton’s defense budget request 
and the figures contained in the congres¬ 
sional budget resolution would halt the slide 
in defense budgets. Yet the extended paying 
of the “peace dividend” - and the creation of 
today’s federal budget surplus, the product 
of increased tax revenues and reduced 

defense spending - has created a severe 
“defense deficit,” totaling tens of billions of 
dollars annually. 

The Congress has been complicit in this 
defense decline. In the first years of the 
administration, Congress acquiesced in the 
sharp reductions made by the Clinton 
Administration from the amount projected in 
the final Bush defense plan. Since the 
Republicans won 
control of 
Congress in 1994, 
very slight 
additions have 
been made to 
defense requests, 
yet none has been 
able to turn around 
the pattern of 
defense decline 
until this year. 

Even these in¬ 
creases were 
achieved by the 
use of accounting 
gimmicks that 
allow the government to circumvent the 
limitations of the 1997 balanced budget 

Through all the accounting gimmicks, 
defense spending has been almost perfectly 
flat - indeed, the totals have been less than 
$1 billion apart - for the past four years. 

The steepest declines in defense spending 
were accomplished during the early years of 
the Clinton Administration, when defense 
spending levels fell from about $339 billion 
in 1992 to $277 billion in 1996. The 
cumulative effects of reduced defense 

Use of the post- 
Cold War 
dividend” to 
balance the 
federal budget 
has created a 
deficit” totaling 
tens of billions 
of dollars 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

spending over a decade or more have been 
even more severe. A recent study by the 
Center for Strategic and International 
Studies, Avoiding the Defense Train Wreck 
in the New Millennium, compared the final 
Bush defense plan, covering 1994 through 
1999, with the defense plan of the Clinton 
Administration and found that a combina¬ 
tion of budget changes and internal 
Pentagon actions had resulted in a net 
reduction in defense spending of $162 
billion from the Bush plan to the Clinton 
plan. Congressional budget increases and 
supplemental appropriations requests added 
back about $52 billion, but that spending for 
the most part covered the cost of contin¬ 
gency operations and other readiness 
shortfalls - it did not buy back much of the 
modernization that was deferred. Compared 
to Bush-era budgets, the Clinton Admin¬ 
istration reduced procurement spending an 
average of $40 billion annually. During the 
period from 1993 to 2000, deferred pro¬ 
curements - the infamous “procurement 
bow wave” - more than doubled from 
previous levels to $426 billion, according to 
the report. 

The CSIS report is but the most recent 
in a series of reports gauging the size of the 
mismatch between current long-term 
defense plans and budgets. The Congres¬ 
sional Budget Office’s latest estimate of the 
annual mismatch is at least $90 billion. 

Even the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review 
itself allowed for a $12-to-15-billion annual 
funding shortfall; now the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff, according to news reports, are 
insisting on a $30-billion-per-year increase 
in defense spending. In 1997 the Center for 
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments 
calculated the annual shortfall at approxi¬ 
mately $26 billion and has now increased its 
total to $50 billion; analyst Michael 
O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution pegs 
that gap at $27 billion, at a minimum. 

Perhaps more important than the 
question of which of these estimates best 
calculates the amount of the current defense 

shortfall is the question of what costs are not 
captured. All of these estimates measure the 
gap between current defense plans and 
programs and current budgets; they make no 
allowance for the new missions and needs of 
the post-Cold War world. They do not 
capture the costs of deploying effective 
missile defenses. They do not account for 
the costs of constabulary missions. They do 
not consider the costs of transformation. 

Nor do they calculate the costs of the other 
recommendations of this report, such as 
strengthening, reconfiguring, and reposition¬ 
ing today’s force. 

In fact, the best way to measure defense 
spending over longer periods of time is as a 
portion of national wealth and federal 
spending. By these metrics, defense budgets 
have continued to decline even as 
Americans have become more prosperous in 
recent years. The defense budget now totals 
less than 3 percent of the gross domestic 
product - the lowest level of U.S. defense 
spending since the Depression. Defense 
accounts for about 15 percent of federal 
spending - slightly more than interest on the 
debt, and less than one third of the amount 
spent on Social Security, Medicare and other 
entitlement programs, which account for 54 
percent of federal spending. As the annual 
federal budget has moved from deficit to 
surplus and more resources have become 
available, there has been no serious or 
sustained effort to recapitalize U.S. armed 

As troublesome as the trends of the past 
decade have been, as inadequate as current 
budgets are, the longer-term future is more 
troubling still. If current spending levels are 
maintained, by some projections, the amount 
of the defense shortfall will be almost as 
large as the defense budget itself by 2020 - 
2.3 percent compared to 2.4 percent of gross 
domestic product. In particular, as modern¬ 
ization spending slips farther and farther 
behind requirements, the procurement bow 
wave will reach tsunami proportions, says 
CSIS: “By continuing to kick the can down 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the road, the military departments will, in 
effect, create a situation in which they 
require $4.4 trillion in procurement dollars” 
from 2006 through 2020 to maintain the 
current force. 

After 2010 - seemingly a long way off 
but well within traditional defense planning 
horizons - the outlook for increased military 
spending under current plans becomes even 
more doubtful. In the coming decades, the 
network of social entitlement programs, 
particularly Social Security, will generate a 
further squeeze on other federal spending 
programs. If defense budgets remain at 
projected levels, America’s global military 
preeminence will be impossible to maintain, 
as will the world order that is secured by 
that preeminence. 

Budgets and the Strategy 
Of Retreat 

Recent defense reviews, and the 1997 
Quadrennial Defense Review and the 
accompanying report of the National 
Defense Panel especially, have framed the 
dilemma facing the Pentagon and the nation 
as a whole as a question of risk. At current 
and planned spending levels, the United 
States can preserve current forces and 
capabilities to execute current missions and 
sacrifice modernization, innovation and 
transformation, or it can reduce personnel 
strength and force structure further to pay 
for new weapons and forces. Despite the 
QDR’s rhetoric about shaping the current 
strategic environment, responding to crises 
and preparing now for an uncertain future, 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

the Clinton Administration’s defense plans 
continue to place a higher priority on im¬ 
mediate needs than on preparing for a more 
challenging technological or geo-political 
future; as indicated in the force posture 
section above, the QDR retains the two-war 
standard as the central feature of defense 
planning and the sine qua non of America’s 
claim to be a global superpower. The 
National Defense Panel, with its call for a 
“transformation strategy,” argued that the 
“priority must go to the future.” The two- 
war standard, in the panel’s assessment, “has 
become a means of justifying current forces. 
This approach focuses resources on a low- 
probability scenario, which consumes funds 
that could be used to reduce risk to our long¬ 
term security.” 

Again, the CSIS study’s affordability 
assessments suggest the trade-offs between 
manpower and force structure that must be 
made under current 
budget constraints. For 
example, CSIS esti¬ 
mates that the cost of 
modernizing the 
current 1.37 million- 
man force would 
require procurement 
spending of $164 
billion per year. While 
we might not agree 
with every aspect of the 
methodology under¬ 
lying this calculation, the larger point is 
clear: if defense spending remains at current 
levels, as current plans under the QDR 
assume, the Pentagon would only be able to 
modernize a little more than half the force. 
Under this scenario, U.S. armed forces 
would become increasingly obsolescent, 
expensive to operate and outclassed on the 
battlefield. As the report concludes, “U.S. 
military forces will lose their credibility both 
at home and abroad regarding their size, age, 
and technological capabilities for carrying 
out the national military strategy.” 
Conversely, adopting the National Defense 
Panel approach of accepting greater risk 
today while preparing for the future would 

require significant further cuts in the size of 
U.S. ai med forces. According to CSIS, a 
shift in resources that would up the rate of 
modernized equipment to 76 percent - not a 
figure specified by the NDP but one not 
inconsistent with that general approach - 
would require reducing the total strength of 
U.S. forces to just 1 million, again assuming 
3 percent of GDP were devoted to defense 
spending. Thus, at current spending levels 
the Pentagon must choose between force 
structure and modernization. 

When it is recalled that a projection of 
defense spending levels at 3 percent of GDP 
represents the most optimistic assumption 
about current Pentagon plans, the horns of 
this dilemma appear sharper still: at these 
levels, U.S. forces soon will be too old or 
too small. Following the administration’s 
“live for today” path will ensure that, in 
some future high-intensity war, U.S. forces 
will lack the cutting-edge technologies that 
they have come to rely on. Following the 
NDP’s “prepare for tomorrow” path, U.S. 
forces will lack the manpower needed to 
conduct their current missions. From con¬ 
stabulary duties to the conduct of major 
theater wars, the ability to defend current 
U.S. security interests will be placed at 
growing risk. 

In a larger sense, these two approaches 
differ merely about the nature and timing of 
a strategy of American retreat. By commit¬ 
ting forces to the Balkans, maintaining U.S. 
presence in the Persian Gulf, and by respon¬ 
ding to Chinese threats to Taiwan and send¬ 
ing peacekeepers to East Timor, the Clinton 
Administration has, haltingly, incrementally 
and often fecklessly, taken some of the 
necessary steps for strengthening the new 
American security perimeter. But by 
holding defense spending and military 
strength to their current levels, the 
administration has compromised the nation’s 
ability to fight large-scale wars today and 
consumed the investments that ought to have 
been made to preserve American military 
preeminence tomorrow. The reckoning for 

If defense 
remains at 
levels, U.S. 
forces will 
soon be too 
old or too 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

The Procurement Holiday ♦ 


Living Off the Investments of the Reagan Years 



, .wyw i ipg. - 

L . 





uM iiS 

X X X « 

such a strategy will come when U.S. forces 
are unable to meet the demands placed upon 
them. This may happen when they take on 
one mission too many - if, say, NATO’s 
role in the Balkans expands, or U.S troops 
enforce a demilitarized zone on the Golan 
Heights - and a major theater war breaks 
out. Or, it may happen when two major 
theater wars occur nearly simultaneously. 

Or it may happen when a new great power - 
a rising China - seeks to challenge 
American interests and allies in an important 

By contrast, a strategy that sacrifices 
force structure and current readiness for 
future transformation will leave American 
armed forces unable to meet today’s 
missions and commitments. Since today’s 
peace is the unique product of American 
preeminence, a failure to preserve that 
preeminence allows others an opportunity to 
shape the world in ways antithetical to 
American interests and principles. The price 
of American preeminence is that, just as it 
was actively obtained, it must be actively 

maintained. But as service chiefs and other 
senior military leaders readily admit, today’s 
forces are barely adequate to maintain the 
rotation of units to the myriad peacekeeping 
and other constabulary duties they face 
while keeping adequate forces for a single 
major theater war in reserve. 

An active-duty force reduced by another 
300,000 to 400,000 - almost another 30 
percent cut from current levels and a total 
reduction of more than half from Cold-War 
levels - to free up funds for modernization 
and transformation would be clearly 
inadequate to the demands of today’s 
missions and national military strategy. If 
the United States withdrew forces from the 
Balkans, for example, it is unlikely that the 
rest of NATO would be able to long pick up 
the slack; conversely, such a withdrawal 
would provoke a political crisis within 
NATO that would certainly result in the end 
of American leadership within NATO; it 
might well spell the end of the alliance 
itself. Likewise, terminating the no-fly- 
zones over Iraq would call America’s 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

position as guarantor of security in the 
Persian Gulf into question; the reaction 
would be the same in East Asia following a 
withdrawal of U.S. forces or a lowering of 
American military presence. The conse¬ 
quences sketched by the Quadrennial 
Defense Review regarding a retreat from a 
two-war capability would inexorably come 
to pass: allies and adversaries alike would 
begin to hedge against American retreat and 
discount American security guarantees. At 
current budget levels, a modernization or 
transformation strategy is in danger of 
becoming a “no-war” strategy. While the 
American peace might not come to a 
catastrophic end, it would quickly begin to 
unravel; the result would be much the same 
in time. 

The Price of American 

As admitted above, calculating the exact 
price of armed forces capable of maintaining 
American military preeminence today and 
extending it into the future requires more 
detailed analysis than this broad study can 
provide. We have advocated a force posture 
and service structure that diverges 
significantly both from current plans and 
alternatives advanced in other studies. We 
believe it is necessary to increase slightly 
the personnel strength of U.S. forces - many 
of the missions associated with patrolling 
the expanding American security perimeter 
are manpower-intensive, and planning for 
major theater wars must include the ability 
for politically decisive campaigns including 
extended post-combat stability operations. 
Also, this expanding perimeter argues 
strongly for new overseas bases and forward 
operating locations to facilitate American 
political and military operations around the 

At the same time, we have argued that 
established constabulary missions can be 
made less burdensome on soldiers, sailors, 
airmen and Marines and less burdensome on 
overall U.S. force structure by a more 

sensible forward-basing posture; long-term 
security commitments should not be 
supported by the debilitating, short-term 
rotation of units except as a last resort. In 
Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia, 
enduring U.S. security interests argue 
forcefully for an enduring American military 
presence. Pentagon policy-makers must 
adjust their plans to accommodate these 
realities and to reduce the wear and tear on 
service personnel. We have also argued that 
the services can begin now to create new, 
more flexible units and military 
organizations that may, over time, prove to 
be smaller than current organizations, even 
for peacekeeping and constabulary 

Even as American military forces patrol 
an expanding security perimeter, we believe 
it essential to retain sufficient forces based 
in the continental United States capable of 
rapid reinforcement and, if needed, applying 
massive combat power to stabilize a region 
in crisis or to bring a war to a successful 
conclusion. There should be a strong 
strategic synergy between U.S. forces 
overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units 
operating abroad are an indication of 
American geopolitical interests and 
leadership, provide significant military 
power to shape events and, in wait i me, 
create the conditions for victory when 
reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the 
ability to deliver an unquestioned “knockout 
punch” through the rapid introduction of 
stateside units will increase the shaping 
power of forces operating overseas and the 
vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an 
enduring need for large-scale American 

But while arguing for improvements in 
today’s armed services and force posture, 
we are unwilling to sacrifice the ability to 
maintain preeminence in the longer term. If 
the United States is to maintain its 
preeminence - and the military revolution 
now underway is already an American-led 
revolution - the Pentagon must begin in 
earnest to transform U.S. military forces. 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

We have argued that this transformation 
mission is yet another new mission, as 
compelling as the need to maintain 
European stability in the Balkans, prepare 
for large, theater wars or any other of 
today’s missions. This is an effort that 
involves more than new weaponry or 
technologies. It requires experimental units 
free to invent new concepts of operation, 
new doctrines, new tactics. It will require 
years, even decades, to fully grasp and 
implement such changes, and will surely 
involve mistakes and inefficiencies. Yet the 
maintenance of the American peace requires 
that American forces be preeminent when 
they are called upon to face very different 
adversaries in the future. 

Finally, we have argued that we must 
restore the foundation of American security 
and the basis for U.S. military operations 
abroad by improving our homeland 
defenses. The current American peace will 

be short-lived if 
the United 
States becomes 
vulnerable to 
rogue powers 
with small, 
arsenals of 
ballistic missiles 
and nuclear 
warheads or 
other weapons 
of mass 

destruction. We 
cannot allow 
North Korea, 
Iran, Iraq or 
similar states to 
undermine American leadership, intimidate 
American allies or threaten the American 
homeland itself. The blessings of the 
American peace, purchased at fearful cost 
and a century of effort, should not be so 
trivially squandered. 

Taken all in all, the force posture and 
service structure we advocate differ enough 
from current plans that estimating its costs 

precisely based upon known budget plans is 
unsound. Likewise, generating independent 
cost analyses is beyond the scope of this 
report and would be based upon great 
political and technological uncertainties - 
any detailed assumptions about the cost of 
new overseas bases or revolutionary 
weaponry are bound to be highly speculative 
absent rigorous net assessments and 
program analysis. Nevertheless, we believe 
that, over time, the program we advocate 
would require budgets roughly equal to 
those necessary to fully fund the QDR force 
- a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of 
gross domestic product. A sensible plan 
would add $15 billion to $20 billion to total 
defense spending annually through the 
Future Years Defense Program; this would 
result in a defense “topline” increase of $75 
billion to $100 billion over that period, a 
small percentage of the $700 billion on- 
budget surplus now projected for that same 
period. We believe that the new president 
should commit his administration to a plan 
to achieve that level of spending within four 

In its simplest terms, our intent is to 
provide forces sufficient to meet today’s 
missions as effectively and efficiently as 
possible, while readying U.S. armed forces 
for the likely new missions of the future. 
Thus, the defense program described above 
would preserve current force structure while 
improving its readiness, better posturing it 
for its current missions, and making selected 
investments in modernization. At the same 
time, we would shift the weight of defense 
recapitalization efforts to transforming U.S. 
forces for the decades to come. At four 
cents on the dollar of America’s national 
wealth, this is an affordable program. 

It is also a wise program. Only such a 
force posture, service structure and level of 
defense spending will provide America and 
its leaders with a variety of forces to meet 
the strategic demands of the world’s sole 
superpower. Keeping the American peace 
requires the U.S. military to undertake a 
broad array of missions today and rise to 

The program we 
advocate - one 
that would provide 
America with 
forces to meet the 
strategic demands 
of the world’s sole 
superpower - 
requires budget 
levels to be 
increased to 3.5 to 
3.8 percent of the 


Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century 

very different challenges tomorrow, but 
there can be no retreat from these missions 
without compromising American leadership 
and the benevolent order it secures. This is 
the choice we face. It is not a choice 
between preeminence today and 
preeminence tomorrow. Global leadership 
is not something exercised at our leisure, 

when the mood stakes us or when our core 
national security interests are directly 
threatened; then it is already too late. 

Rather, it is a choice whether or not to 
maintain American military preeminence, to 
secure American geopolitical leadership, 
and to preserve the American peace. 


Project Participants 

Roger Barnett 

U.S. Naval War College 

Alvin Bernstein 

National Defense University 

Stephen Cambone 

National Defense University 

Eliot Cohen 

Nitze School of Advanced International 
Studies, Johns Hopkins University 

Devon Gaffney Cross 

Donors' Forum for International Affairs 

Thomas Donnelly 

Project for the New American Century 

David Epstein 

Office of Secretary of Defense, 

Net Assessment 

David Fautua 

Lt. Col., U.S. Army 

Dan Goure 

Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Donald Kagan 

Yale University 

Fred Kagan 

U. S. Military Academy at West Point 

Robert Kagan 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 

Robert Killebrew 

Col., USA (Ret.) 

William Kristol 

The Weekly Standard 

Mark Lagon 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee 

James Lasswell 

GAMA Corporation 

I. Lewis Libby 

Dechert Price & Rhoads 

Robert Martinage 

Center for Strategic and Budgetary 

Phil Meilinger 

U.S. Naval War College 

Maekubin Owens 

U.S. Naval War College 

Steve Rosen 

Harvard University 

Gary Schmitt 

Project for the New American Century 

Abram Shulsky 

The RAND Corporation 

Michael Vickers 

Center for Strategic and Budgetary 

Barry Watts 

Northrop Grumman Corporation 

Paul Wolfowitz 

Nitze School of Advanced International 
Studies, Johns Hopkins University 

Dov Zakheim 

System Planning Corporation 

The above list of individuals participated in at least one project meeting or contributed a paper for 
discussion. The report is a product solely of the Project for the New American Century and does not 
necessarily represent the views of the project participants or their affiliated institutions.